Thursday, May 21, 2015

清乃 (Seino in Arida)

和dining 清乃

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The night before, I was treated to a substandard bowl of Wakayama ramen. Immediately after, I did some research, postponed my morning ferry ride, and set out to Arida, a city just 30km south of Wakayama proper. Can Seino redeem the entire genre of Wakayama ramen?

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Highly ranked is always a good sign. Only open for lunch is also a good sign.

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People started arriving about an hour before they opened. Another good sign.

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There are a lot of choices. You have shoyu, chicken shio, thick Wakayama, and Arida black. They all looked great, and their claim to fame is the shoyu. But I wanted to try the Wakayama. Dreaming of rich brown soup was how I spent the night before.

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A note on shoyu; Wakayama is quite famous for their soy sauce history. Many claim that nearby Yuasa (only a few kilometers from this shop) is the birthplace of the stuff, and you can still find craft brewers making small batches of high quality shoyu. A few of the best shops in Tokyo use Wakayama shoyu, a testament to its quality.

But this isn't Tokyo, this is Wakayam. How does this one look?

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Yes! This is what ramen adventuring is all about. A ridiculously rich bowl, with just enough bite on the homemade noodles. The soy sauce really comes through with a huge initial impact, followed by a smooth, porky aftertaste. Tender chashu, an egg that burst with flavor, and seasoned menma complete the dish.

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A side of shirasu gohan is recommended.

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The line wasn't unbearable, but make sure you get there well before they close to avoid disappointment.

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Map of 696 No, Arida-shi, Wakayama-ken 649-0314

和歌山県有田市野696
Wakayama-ken, Arida-shi, No 696
Closest station: Minoshima

Open 11:00-14:00
Closed Tuesdays and some Mondays