Sunday, November 21, 2010

ようちゃん (Yuchan a.k.a. Gyoza Power in Ibaraki)

ラーメン家ようちゃん

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The spicy miso should have been dubbed spicy garlic miso. In a good way.

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And, yes, the gyoza was heavy on garlic as well.

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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!