Ramen Stadium in Canal City, Hakata, which marked its 14th anniversary last December, unveiled five new ramen shops last week! That means that over half of the eight shops have changed. Since Ramen Stadium’s opening 85 ramen shops from around Japan have served their best ramen there. It’s a great place to try a huge variety of ramen that you would normally have to travel far to taste. So we had a chance to taste them all, and here’s our report!
‘It was my dream to open a shop in Hakata’ said owner Kanada Kazuhiro, a former professional cyclist. The unique point of this Yukuhashi City, Fukuoka Prefecture based shop is its creamy tonkotsu soup. By removing carefully and continuously the film from the broth, the tonkotsu has a milder taste. The ramen prepared at Kanadaya use straight noodles from a well-established noodle factory in Kitakyushu. Enjoyed with their homemade mustard (karashi takana, a specialty of Fukuoka Prefecture) this is a tasty ramen indeed. Despite its humble background Kanadaya also has shops in London and Taiwan! We suggest trying the Black Pork Ramen for ¥700
The specialty of this shop is definitely the Beef Tongue Ramen, a specialty of the Miyazaki and Sendai area! Well respected as an accomplished washoku chef, owner Chiba Kenji is very particular with his flavors. The clear soup is made from a simple salty base to which fresh cream is added and topped off with garlic paste to add depth of flavor. Great attention is placed on appearance; for example, three varieties of green onions are added for color. And the way ingredients are cut actually enhances flavours. The combination of the tender beef tongue and wavy egg noodles is really quite unique. Try the salty ramen with Beef Tongue and green onions topped with boiled egg ¥950
Kagoshima Ramen Fukkokushokudou (鹿児島ラーメン復刻食堂)
Two cooks who trained at the same place teamed up open a successful ramen shop in Kagoshima Their mission is “the revival of the traditional ramen”. The tonkotsu broth is made with both pork and chicken bones and seasonings including fried green onions for a refined yet mild taste. The medium straight noodles are topped with carefully prepared Kagoshima roasted black pork. Try the Fukkoku Ramen for ¥730
Menya Houten (麺屋ホウテン)
The well-established Chinese restaurant ‘Houtenhonke’ from Nakasu has been offering ‘one last bowl’ for more than 60 years. Their black soup is made with a secret sauce that combines several types of pure soy sauce. Despite its dark appearance, it is surprisingly light and sweet. Accompanying the soup are specially made smooth and sticky noodles that are similar to the straight noodles from Hakata. The owner, Ebata Yosuke, recommends ordering the ‘Nori’ (seaweed) supplement. The broth tastes even better with toppings. Everybody, young and old, will be able to enjoy the food at the Nakasu restaurant. The famous black Hakata Ramen, Last Original, is at ¥700
In 1955, in Kumamoto, a restaurant called Taro was established and is famous for its delicately cooked soy-sauce seasoned meat stew. The appeal of their food resides in the 70g sliced pork toppings, the generous amount of cabbage, wakame stems on a salty broth filled with original medium straight wheat noodles. The owner, Yoshida Hiroyuki, is very proud of his garlic oil ‘Mayu’ that adds fragrance to the dish. The large bowl (sliced pork noodles – Taromen for ¥ 980) comes with Puer tea instead of still water.
Address: 5F Canal City Hakata, 1-2 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Open: 11:00~23:00 (order stop 22:30) every day
(Translation by Audrey Lapenne)