Monday, December 16, 2013

くをん (Kuon in Fukushima)



My partner in crime over at Weekly Playboy was up in Fukushima sometime last year and had a ramen adventure of his own. He only had a few minutes before his bullet train whisked him back to Tokyo. The nearest ramen shop was Kuon, just a minute from the station. But there was a line. With no time to spare, this random foreigner poked his head in and told the staff that he had to go, but would be fine eating curbside on the street.

That line, coupled with the possible exposure in a major magazine, and the staff hooked him up. He made the train with a minute to spare.

The next day, and the proud momma of the shop's young chef started calling the magazine office. Daily. She was elated that her son's shop was going to be in print, and wanted to know when it would be on stands. We rushed the story out that week.


A problem with any ramen shop that isn't in Tokyo, Osaka, or Nagoya, is that they don't get the recognition they deserve. On the popular Ramendb, a ranking of 2.5 in Tokyo means that you completely failed. A 2.5 up here can mean anything. In this case, it means a winner.

Word of mouth, and fun gimmicks like the ramen moe girls below can go a long way.


Kuon's character is a tough one.

Kuon matches their thick, homemade noodles with a heavy garlic-shoyu soup. This ramen is that kind of ramen.


You'll stink after, guaranteed.


Sure enough, their "inspired character" is a spunky young Namie. This gal spends her free time training at the boxing gym and crushing kilo and a half sized bowls with extra ニンニク.


I went with the regular tsukemen.


Nami-size is almost reserved for children at Tokyo ramen shops. But at Kuon, it was 600 grams. Like Abram, I almost missed my train. This was a massive amount of noodles!


The タローラーメン - taro ramen - can be tricked out to an amazing 2kg. Keep in mind that the train platform is on the 2nd floor, and stairs might be in your future.


Official Site of the Cute Ramen Characters Here


Fukushima-ken, Fukushima-shi, Otamachi 8-3
Closest station: Fukushima

Open 11:00-15:00, 18:00-21:00
Closed Wednesdays


Rachel said...

This ramen looks so nice. I'm not sure about garlic though, but it sure is worth trying. I'll put this one on my itinerary when I visit Japan soon. sooooooon! ;)

髙橋わな美 said...

Thank you very much for the introduction of my site.
it is undeserved honor!
A very beautiful photograph.
& A feeling of a lively motion of 「KUON」 is felt.
Moreover, please come for play to Fukushima^^

Brian said...

No problem! I want to come back in the spring or summer and go to all the shops on that list. Sounds fun for a 3-day ramen tour!