Tuesday, January 10, 2012

麺ロードの縁 (Enishi in Kobe's Noodle Road)


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What is Kobe ramen? Though an officially recognized style doesn't exist, one could come to a couple conclusions based on common knowledge. The fame of local Kobe beef could somehow make it's way into the ramen. I am completely against throwing some random local food on top of ramen and calling it special. This is a common concept in Japan, and I've had miserable bowls of noodles topped with expensive Japanese spiny lobster, fatty tuna, and strange mountain vegetables.

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The other thought about Kobe ramen comes from the local China town. Street-side shops serve up 300 yen bowls of simple, Chinese style ramen. So maybe Kobe ramen is just cheap. Better ask a local.

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My friend, a Kobe native, didn't have an answer. But she had heard of a recently opened ramen shop alley. Men Road (noodle road that is) sounds like the place to be.

Like most noodle streets, a few shops compete for sales. Word is that the lowest ranked shop will be ousted in the near future to make way for a new contender.

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Compared to the excellent Tokyo Ramen Street, this place is a let down. The shops have no individual atmosphere, and are set up like identical counter bars. I guess it makes the transition from losing shop to new shop easier. Whatever.

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This is how much legroom you have. About 8 inches. I'm a tall guy. It didn't work out well.

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Personal comfort aside (the 5 foot tall obasan next to me looked comfortable enough), I still wanted to try all 4 shops. First up was Enishi. Made with a simple Kobe beef soup, it looked promising.

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Looks can be deceiving, and my bowl of Kobe Bokkakemen is not recommended. What the heck is bokkake anyways? And please, I don't need a definition of bukkake in the comments.

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My J-E dictionary was no help.

Feeling let down, I gave up on devouring all 4 bowls here, and opted to go get a really expensive steak. This is Kobe, after all.

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2 comments:

heller66 said...

Apparently "bokkake" is a dish invented in Nagata (an er, unpretentious neighborhood of Kobe known for its Zainichi Chosenjin population, which I am somewhat familiar with as most of my wife's maternal relatives are such, and live there) that is a gyuusuji and konnyaku nikomi in a sweet-spicy soy-based sauce, or something. Never had bokkake ramen but it seems to fall neatly into your unloved category of specialty ramens that just throw some random local food on top of ramen.

Brian said...

Awesome! Thank you for the insight.