Monday, April 22, 2019

橋本食堂 (Hashimoto in Susaki, Kochi Prefecture)


My reason for visiting Kochi Prefecture this time around?

This guy!

He's everywhere, from PR posters to the sides of the city's prized cement factory. 

And I was here to meet him.

Shinjokun is the local mascot of Susaki City. He's a Japanese river otter, and he loves the local style of ramen, called nabeyaki ramen. Ramen in an earthenware hotpot. It's a style you won't find anywhere else; the rest of the country sticks with the tried and true udon for their hotpots.

It was an interesting day. I've worked all sorts of talent around Japan but spending the day with a mascot was a highlight of my many years in Japan.

Hashimoto is the towns highest ranked shop. I'd tried a few others, including the famous Mayumi's, but this one really stood out.

Richer broth, meatier chicken, the whole thing was a delight. Nabeyaki Ramen must be made with oyadori; mature chicken meat has a stronger flavor. 

Another rule is the raw egg. Some people leave it in the broth to cook a bit, but others scoop it out into the lid to use as a noodle dip. Do it local style!

This part of Japan is remote. It took a couple hours on a local train from Kochi's main city to Susaki. Shikoku, in general, is a road trip kind of place, so you should be driving and not taking the infrequent public transport. Then again, this was technically a PR gig, so I probably shouldn't say that.

Shikoku is a slow place so take your time between cities. Take some time and soak in the vibe.

Even if you are a famous celebrity, life is slower down here.

Thank you, Shinjokun, for the hospitality.