Monday, February 3, 2020

えびす屋 (Jesus Ramen at Ebisuya in Aomori)


Yes, this is Christ ramen. Yes, we are in the deep, deep countryside of Aomori Prefecture in the north of Japan. Yes, I will explain.

In 1936, religious papers called the Takenouchi Documents were found in Japan. These tell a story of Jesus escaping the crucifixion, traveling to Japan, marrying a Japanese lady, and dying with three children at the age of 106. It was here, in the village of Shingo, that he made his life. The symbolic graves are for him and his younger brother, who took his place on the cross.

These papers, by the way, were lost sometime in the 1950s. How convenient.

Yes, this is a real place in Japan. If you want more information, I really enjoyed the video from the stellar YouTube channel Rare Earth.

On to the ramen.

Ebisuya was empty when I rolled in. Real estate space is no problem here, so it isn't a surprise to find massive restaurants in a place that may not need so many seats. Next to the restaurant is a karaoke "container," literally a couple shipping containers converted into rent-by-the-hour karaoke booths. They were also empty.

Jesus ramen is something Jesus could eat. The soup is made from chicken and locally sourced saba. Line-caught saba, mackerel, is most famous in nearby Hachinohe. Instead of chashu pork, the master uses Japanese yams grown in her garden. Slightly fried, they are crisp and a bit slimy. A beautiful root vegetable. Homegrown shiso topped with homemade pickled plum adds a bit of punch.

Naturo cut into a Star of David. Fun, weird stuff. It is encounters like these that I live for.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

らーめん本竈 (Honkamado in Sendai)


Honkamado is one of Sendai's most lauded shops, located a solid 30 minutes drive from the city center. Thus begins the Ramen Rider 2019 summer ramen tour to Tohoku and Hokkaido. 

A bit of route talk. If you plan on riding to the north of Japan, you might want to consider taking the expressway to Sendai, then cutting over to the coast for the local roads. Sure, there are some local roads between Tokyo and Sendai, but unless you spend a good three days on them, the highway is my way.

Honkamado is located perfectly on the last bit of city road between the expressway and the coast.

Homemade noodles made with natural salt. A standard double soup made with quality bones and dried fish.

Honkamado takes pride in their shrimp wontons, so be sure to get a bowl with those.

Really good stuff. I crushed it and headed out to my secret camping spot to the north. I say secret because camping is probably prohibited at this seaside park.

 Official site here.

Monday, January 27, 2020

中華徳大 (Tokudai in Ogikubo)


That's not ramen!

To which I agree. But they serve ramen here so I might as well include it in the annals of Ramen Adventures. Also, their fried rice topped with egg was some incredibly good eats, so there you go.

Tokudai is an old school Chinese-ish spot with a massive menu. Around 20 noodles dishes, over a dozen rice dishes, and another 20 lunch plates. I say Chinese-ish because I don't quite know how to classify this genre of restaurant. The way Chinese food in America is often Americanized, Chinese food in Japan is often Japanified.

Everyone here was ordering the ホウレン草炒飯, spinach fried rice, topped with an egg. Seriously, nine out of ten were on this one.

Service is fast, preparing five or six at a time.

You can't see it, but there is a pile of wok-fried pork under that egg blanket. So satisfying.

The massive menu. Number 30 for those who don't want to search.

I came with a ramen friend and we tried the ramen as well. It was that classic chuka style. Simple and nostalgic, but not really for me.

Ogikubo wins again.