Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hakata Ramen

Does anyone remember where you might have seen the comic strip below?

Bingo! Its from the recently opened Ippudo @ Mandarin Gallery.

Not sure if anyone read what is written on the comic strip. But if you have time to do so, you will be interested to find that it is explaining about what Hakata Ramen (博多らーめん) is.

Ippudo is so kind to have it available in 3 languages (Japanese, English and Chinese)!

Hakata is the name of a city in the Kyushu region of Japan. The name of the city has since been called Fukuoka (福岡), which might be a name more familiar with everyone. Although the city is now called Fukuoka, the name of its Shinkansen station, which happens to be one of the end points of the Sanyo Shinkansen, is still called the Hakata station.

Back to the main topic of Hakata Ramen.

Hakata Ramen is characterised by its soup, noodles, as well as how it is eaten.

Soup - White pork-bone (tonkotsu) soup is used

Noodles- Narrow and straight noodles are used. This is for the noodles to pick up more soup with its larger surface area. It is also faster to cook them too.

How it is eaten -
1) It is common for a ramen shop selling Hakata Ramen to let the customer choose the hardness of the noodles according to one's likings.
2) There is also a practice of Kaedama (替え玉), meaning to order a second serving of noodles into the same bowl of soup. According to the comic, because the narrow noodles are fast to get soggy, the serving is usually kept small so that the noodles can be taken at it optimal hardness. The customer can then order a 2nd serving of noodles, at the right hardness, if he or she is still hungry.

Here is an example of a typical Hakata Ramen, from Sandaime Marusuke in Shinjuku.

Tonkotsu soup, narrow noodles

Ramen places in Singapore serving Hakata Ramen includes Ippudo and Yoshimaru Ramen.

In Japan, the best place to have Hakata Ramen is of course Hakata (Fukuoka) itself! One ramen chain worth mentioning that serves Hakata Ramen is 一蘭(Ichiran). I won't dwell too much into it, but in addition to its tasty ramen, it also has an unique ordering system and atmosphere that aims to keep you focused on the ramen.

There are a lot of ramen shops in Singapore that serves Hokkaido-style Ramen. There are, in fact, many more styles available in Japan. I'm glad that there are more variations, such as Ippudo, entering the Singapore market.

Will continue to introduce various ramens in my next post :)

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