Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ramen Meccas: Nagasaki

長崎



Nagasaki City is just about the westernmost big city in Japan. The location is prime for trade, historically at least, and the area developed with a huge Chinese and Dutch influence. During the sakoku period (鎖国) a small part of Nagasaki was open to foreign trade. Stepping foot on Japanese soil anywhere else meant a swift death.

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What did this mean for food? Well, the area supposedly mixed Chinese, Japanese, and Dutch cuisine into one. Honestly, I found that the only real European thing was the castella cake, of which there is an abundance. The rest is an Asian fusion which, as expected, includes noodles.

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This is champon, Nagasaki's gift to the ramen world.

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Champon, unlike other noodle dishes, is a one pot dish. Soup is boiled, noodles are dumped in the soup, and toppings are added. The word champon can mean a mix of things. It is often referenced as a bad formula for drinking. Beer before liquor, never sicker. More like beer before shochu before sake before highballs in Japan. Don't champon!

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But do eat the champon in Nagasaki.

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Even Rilakuma is a fan. I was only able to eat at three of the dozens of shops, and would recommend Eiseiro as the top pick. It had a small-shop feel, while the others were massive Chinese restaurants that felt more like a banquet.

For an in-depth (and funny Engrish lesson) check out this link:

http://www.nagasaki.web-saito.net/changpong_en.html

By the way, of the dozen or so people I spoke with, most of them say Ringer Hut it their favorite. Go figure.

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But what about ramen? Being Kyushu, you are sure to find a lot of good tonkotsu ramen shops. Most of the ramen is right around China Town. Not a lot, but enough for a tourist for sure. Check out this rad map!

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Courtesy of Anna (http://nachans-noodles.blogspot.jp/).