Tuesday, October 16, 2012

伊藤食堂 (Ito in Kitakata)

伊藤食堂

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I was planning on only having three bowls in Kitakata. But on the walk back to my motorcycle, a little old lady, just shy of 85 years old, stopped me on the street.

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She was telling random strangers that the best ramen shop in town was just down the little alley to her right.  Who can argue with little old ladies!

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I wanted to continue hanging out, so I invited her along.  Together, we slowly walked the 10 meters in 10 minutes and entered Ito.

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As local as it gets.  The place was old, dirty, and empty.  The menu? A stained piece of paper pinned up on the wall.

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The tencho fit in perfectly.  Slightly egotistical, he proceeded to tell me which shops in town have horrible ramen, and which shops have horrible staff.  I won't share, but a couple dudes who run ramen shops in Kitakata are apparently すごくダメ.

"What makes your soup so special?" I asked.

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It is the niboshi. The dried fish are common in Kitakata ramen, but not at this level. Cooking with niboshi is tough, but if done right it is great for an after-drinks meal.

According to the master, even the foreigners love his ramen.  A group of English teachers living in Shiokawa, the next town over, make a weekly trip to Kitakata for sushi, drinking, and Ito's ramen.

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Yeah, this was perfect post-drink ramen.  I should also note that the place wasn't really up to code in cleanliness, and I found a little bug in my ramen.  Not a big deal for me, but I could see that being a big problem for someone used to the spotless, fashionable ramen shops of the big city.

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福島県喜多方市下町7413
Fukushima-ken, Kitakata, Yachita 7413
Closest station: Kitakata

Open 11:00am-3:00pm, 8:00pm-2:00am