Monday, September 24, 2018

栄屋 (Sakaeya in Yamagata)

栄屋 本店

Made it!

Sakaeya is probably the most famous shop in Yamagata City, and perhaps even the prefecture. To be honest, I don't know any real draw for this part of Japan, other than some nice outdoor areas and a few temples that show up on temple nerd's radars. That, and ramen.

According to this site, Yamagata Prefecture has the most ramen shops per capita. It's one of the least populous prefectures as well, so don't look too much into the data. More fun facts, Yamagata has a few distinct styles of ramen; spicy miso, fish, and cold ramen.

Cold ramen served year round.

You don't see this often; health checks.

As I turn 40 I'm reminded that I should cut 100 calories a day. Not interested.

Back to the ramen.

In 1952, Sakaeya invented this new style of chilled ramen to combat the summer heat. You might not see it in the photo, but there are actual ice cubes made of soup in there. This is different from hiyashichuka, a cold style of ramen invented in Tokyo that is more of a noodle with sauce dish. In recent years, though, naming conventions have gone out the window and anything cold can be called hiyashi.

Just remember that it all started here.

The noodles stay extra chewy in the cold broth, and the addition of some sliced cucumber make it extra refreshing.

This year, 2018, saw record highs. The world could use a little cold ramen.

Of course, all the stars have been.

The shop runs a little slow, and I missed my train back to Tokyo by a few minutes. Oops! Well, in Japan, you can always take the next train and sit in the non-reserved seats, or even take a local train home. Yes, this express train is almost three hours.

Website here.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

麺藤田 (Doda in Yamagata)


I was up in Yamagata City for the first time in my Japan life, and knew that a bowl was in order. I've been around Yamagata Prefecture before, just not the main city. Sakata has a famous ramen style (I didn't like it!) that I tried not just once, but twice. They also have famous spicy miso shops in the Prefecture.

Well, the city of Yamagata is known for their cold ramen, especially at Sakeya.

That shop was closed.

Standard tsukemen, open late.

Decent bowls for the late night drinking crowd. If anyone has any advice about this part of Japan, let me know. I found this city dreadfully boring at first glance, but there is usually something awesome in this Japanese minor cities.

Monday, September 17, 2018

潮くろ㐂 (Ushio Kuroki in Akihabara)


Incredible shio ramen, filled with all kinds of seafood.

But before I go further, I have to tell you that this shop is now closed. Kuroki isn't closed, they still operate one of Japan's most revered shio ramen shops, but this particular Friday-only, ocean-inspired ramen is no more.

When I spoke to Kuroki-san, he just said that he will try something new. He also said that he will change his regular shop's recipe drastically. I'm not sure if that was meant to be between myself and him. Don't tell anyone.

So there you go. I apologize that Ramen Adventures has a backlog of around seven months. I've just been crushing too many great bowls and keeping the twice-a-week upload schedule.

The limited bowl here would rotate different shellfish each week.

This time was clam from Northern Japan. Incredible.

To be honest, just go to Kuroki anytime for a great bowl. He always does limited things, and it is always something special The guy is one of Tokyo's biggest ramen masters.