This Ramen Place in Japan Is Only Open for Lunch, And for Good Reason

It's also known for its outstanding service.

Ramen Zenryoku
75-1 Miyamachi, Matsuzaka City, Mie Prefecture
Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. except Mondays
How to get there: It's only a 5-minute drive from Matsuzaka Station (JR Kisesaki Line, Kintetsu Yamada Line)

At-home ramen restaurant Ramen Zenryoku in Matsuzaka City is only open for lunch. It's not because owner Yutaka Nakagawa doesn't like serving people breakfast or dinner, but because he does everything in the restaurant on his own, which means giving every dish and customer his undivided attention, and working hard on the food preparations until midnight every night. Nakagawa, who was trained at two famous ramen houses in Osaka, is too dedicated to his craft to give any less. 

If you're ever in the neighborhood, make sure you try the Tori Shio Ramen or chicken salt ramen (¥780). With a broth that is made from chicken and seafood, this dish has a mild taste that is balanced by a bit of saltiness. The chicken thigh meat is big and filling, while the type of the noodles is different from the dipping ones and ramen. The dough is rested for at least a night, before it is turned into noodles, with the second or third day being the best time to serve them.   

Their signature dish, the Noukou Tsukemen or ramen with a rich-tasting dip (¥830), is also a must-try. Its noodles are homemade and run a little thinner, and it comes with toppings such as pork chuck chashu, Japanese brassica, red onions, and fried onion. There's also chicken thigh meat hidden in the dipping sauce.

The concept of dipping noodles or tsukemen is not new, but it has grown significantly more popular in recent years, both here and in Japan. For the uninitiated, Ramen Zenryoku has a few tips to help you eat your bowl of tsukemen

First, taste the noodles on their own, so you can feel the smooth texture of the noodles and smell the fragrance of the wheat. Next, try them with the dipping sauce. 

Once you finish the noodles, it's time for a soup wari. This is when you add broth soup in the remaining sauce. According to Nakagawa, this is a great way to end your tsukemen experience.

Provided by Japan Walker™, Tokai Walker™, and Walkerplus™ (28 November 2017)

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