Monday, December 12, 2016

大岩亭 (Oiwatei in Nagoya)

大岩亭

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I know, I know, the above photo is positively disgusting. I believe I could have made it look appetizing if I had my Fuji XT-1 camera; this is the first post in ages that I used an iPhone for. But in my defense, I didn't think I would be eating ramen this evening, in the middle of nowhere Nagoya.

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But I have a star on my map, indicating a ramen shop that had somehow caught my eye, but was too far away for immediate action.

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My hotel for the evening was at the intersection of the bullet train and local, near Mikawa-Anjo Station.

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So that is how I ended up at Oiwatei. Why was this one on my ramen radar? What is so special? Thickest soup in Japan. Eccentric chef.

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Yes on both accounts. The chef screams as he shakes the noodles from the boiling water. Haaaaaaa! Eeeeeeeee!

He also takes his sweet time. When I arrived, there were eight people ahead of me in line. Standard, and the usual formula is four minutes a person wait. But the master's screams came infrequently. It took me almost two hours before I could sit, and another 30 minutes before I was presented my bowl.

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Yeah, that is my spoon standing up in the soup. I remember old Dennison's chili commercials as a child boasting that you could stand a fork in the bowl. Well, this ain't chili, this is soup. Ungodly thick soup.

*A quick cultural note: Never stand your chopsticks up in food in Japan, especially rice. This is done during a traditional funeral ceremony as an offering to the deceased. I asked a few people if a spoon was ok, and no one knew for sure. The general consensus is that it is fine. The above shot was taken by everyone who came here.

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This bowl was horrible. If I were judging on taste alone, then it would be a different story. The soup was like drinking a pig, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Despite the wait, I'd say the novelty factor would put this one on a list of strange, yet interesting ramen in Japan. I might have actually come back.

No, the problem was a serious one. On my first slurp, something sharp hit my tongue. Spitting it into a napkin revealed its nature. A shard of pork bone. Then another, and another. Each slurp had to be done with care, followed by the oral removal of real shattered bone bits. I stopped after five or six miserable bites, paid, and left.

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Map of 1 Chome-16-9 Midorichō, Anjō-shi, Aichi-ken 446-0055

愛知県安城市緑町1-16-9
Aichi-ken, Anjo-shi, Midoricho 1-16-9
Closest station: Mikawa-Anjo

Open 11:00-14:00, 17:00-21:00
Closed Mondays