Living in Tokyo, it's easy to get bogged down by the sheer madness of the city. For this reason, I try and do some motorcycle touring at least once a month. A few hours in any direction on the fabulous (and expensive) expressways is all it takes. Towards the end of November, I planned a nice outing to Northern Ibaraki, about 150km north of the city.
I on the Honda CB1000, and my friend on the Honda CB750. Our shared obsessions go a bit beyond Japanese motorcycles though. He has the most knowledge of Ibaraki's ramen shops out of anyone I know. Well, he's the only one I know, but that doesn't really matter. We planned the first outing of The Ramen Riders, an official group I just made up. In the future, we'll be riding to ramen destinations near and far. Stay tuned!
Official named Yu-chan ramen, I'll choose to call this shop Gyoza Power from now on. The shop sponsors a bike race team, and the walls are covered with photos and props. Like this spent tire.
The fare at Gyoza Power is shoyu, miso, or stamina. Having ridden for a few hours, with a few more to go, stamina was something I could use plenty of.
Stamina ramen is a whole genre that I have ignored until now. The soup and toppings contain different elixirs of stamina. In this case heavy on the garlic and topped with a thick stir fry of pumpkin and liver.
I was pleased, to say the least. The sweetness of the Japanese pumpkin, the umami of the liver, and the thick shoyu soup came together well. I can't imagine many of my readers will be up in this part of Japan anytime soon. But if you are, here's a winner.
The spicy miso should have been dubbed spicy garlic miso. In a good way.
And, yes, the gyoza was heavy on garlic as well.
We sped off, satisfied, with plans of more shops and touring the following day.
If you live in Japan and ride a motorcycle, drop me a mail and I'll let you know about the next meeting of The Ramen Riders!