These Ramen Houses Have Achieved Cult Status in Japan
They've been inducted into the hall of fame.
When an elite team of 100 ramen connoisseurs called hyakumenjin gives a ramen house their seal of approval, there’s no way you can pass up the opportunity to eat there. In 2017, there are four that have been inducted into the hall of fame of really good ramen in Japan. This means that they have either ranked first in the nation for two consecutive years or at least third for four years in the Ramen Walker Grand Prix. We list them below:
6-16 Nambansennichimae, Chuo-Ward, Osaka.
Open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily except Wednesdays. On the first Monday of every month, the restaurant is only open from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. There are no evening hours.
Menyo Joroku is located in Uranamba, a popular Osaka neighborhood known for its restaurants. With many celebrity fans, the restaurant frequently makes an appearance in various magazines and television shows. Its specialty is a chuka soba made with local Takaida ramen noodles steeped in a dark soy sauce broth.
Taichi Yokoyama, a member of the hyakumenjin, describes Menyo Joroku as “A popular shop that is always bringing something new to the table. Although year after year, the queues for this shop continue to be long, customers are drawn by the delicious chuka soba and the affable owner, and choose to wait in line anyway.”
Ramenya Rock ‘n’ Billy S1
2/F 3 Chome-29-13 Minamitsukaguchicho, Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture
Open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; on Sundays, it is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is closed on Mondays.
How to get there: It’s a 10-minute walk from Hankyu Tsukaguchi Station, or an 8-minute walk from JR Tsukaguchi Station.
Three years have passed since Ramenya Rock ‘n’ Billy S1’s opening, but the long lines do not seem to be going anywhere. In fact, on days owner Junichi Shimazaki’s specialty noodles are served, fans line up as early as six in the morning.
Ama Rock, one of his signature dishes, is characterized by its chicken chintan (clear soup) made with a whole hinai-jidori as well as hinai-jidori parts. The noodles are made from carefully selected wheat, giving this chuka soba’s flavor greater depth.
Takeshi Yamamoto, another hyakumenjin member, adds, “The hinai-jidori soup and domestically-produced wheat noodles create a bowl that can only be found here. The 'Hinai-Jidori Shio Ramen Kake Style’ is a must-eat!”
1366-2 Uocho, Hikone-city, Shiga Prefecture
Open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; on weekends and holidays, it is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed on Mondays. If Monday is a holiday, it will be closed on the following day.
How to get there: It’s a 30-minute walk from JR Kawase Station.
Ramen Nikko makes ramen with a smooth paitan soup (white soup) made from simmering chicken for an extended period of time. As soon as you take a sip, the umami of the chicken spreads gently around it. The specially made salt tare sauce draws out a pleasant, full-bodied flavor, and the bite and smooth texture of the noodles that have absorbed the umami of the chicken are excellent. Pork belly and pork shoulder are used for the char siu that tops the bowl.The kuki wakame (seaweed) adds a nice accent with its aroma and texture.
Hyakumenjin member Kazuaki Tanaka describes the paitan ramen as having “achieved both an umami that is not overwhelming and a delicate texture. The slurp of the chewy noodles is also nice and light.”
20-7 Keya, Kinokawa-city, Wakayama Prefecture
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. except Sundays and holidays.
How to get there: It’s an 11-minute walk from JR Uchita Station.
Even though Urashima Shokudo operates only two hours a day, it is deemed legendary by ramen fans. The unassuming restaurant, reminiscent of cheap, no-frills eateries of times past, is best known for their chuka soba--its flavorful tonkotsu soy sauce soup a steaming bowl of umami and richness.
“The chuka soba’s soup is incredibly rich. The tonkotsu base has a rustic, natural savor to it,” says hyakumenjin member Kazuaki Tanaka. “The best full-bodied flavor in Wakayama Prefecture can be found at this shop.”
Provided by Japan Walker™ and Kansai Walker™ (18 October 2017)