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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