Thursday, July 23, 2020

里山の麺処と和布あそびあら木 (Araki in Kagoshima, Prefecture)


Araki (short for Satoyama no Mendokoro to Wakame Asobi Araki) is up on the northern border of Kagoshima Prefecture. Like most ramen shops in Kagoshima, their ramen is a lighter, weaker version of tonkotsu. Unlike the local norm, they incorporate almond into the soup. Almond paste, almond oil, and almond powder all turn this one into a one-of-a-kind countryside bowl.

The area is near Kirishima National Park. I sound like a broken record as I travel prefecture to prefecture, but I can easily say that riding in the mountains of Kyushu is nothing less than breathtaking. The roads are smooth and offer views galore. Camping is everywhere, though in November I was waking up quite frozen in campgrounds that had been closed since October. 

The shop here is more of a home. Walk on in through the front garden, take off your shoes in the entrance, and choose a seat inside the living room or on the back porch.

Kagoshima-style tonkotsu ramen is lighter fare. I'd been to a few famous shops in Kagoshima City proper (apparently I wasn't a fan of Tontoro or Noriichi at the time) and this was my first one on the outskirts of the area. I spent the night in the area at a local hot spring (鶴丸温泉 is 200% recommended), crushed this bowl in the morning, and then headed up north.

It's a unique combination of flavors. Creamy pork made more so by the almonds. Use the slotted spoon to scrape up all the almond bit sediment on the bottom. Similar, in a sense, to a nutty tantanmen, without any of the spice.

Autographs from famous guests sit among the knick-knacks and for-sale craft goods.

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