Thursday, July 9, 2020

宝来軒 (Horaiken in Oita Prefecture)

宝来軒 総本店

Horaiken is one of Kyushu's most popular ramen shops. It's located out in Oita Prefecture, a bit far from the usual tourist attractions. Worth the journey for a ramen head to try their unique creamy broth made from pork, chicken, and beef.

And so begins my November 2019 motorcycle tour of Kyushu. The plan was to hit as many legend shops as I could in three weeks. What exactly is a legend shop? These are shops that Ramen Walker Magazine dubbed the BEST in Japan in their recent Best of the Best Ramen book. The book covers all of Japan, and I'm determined to make it to them all.

Three weeks camping, touring, and eating ramen. What could be better?

Horaiken uses a massive pot called a Goemongama (五右衛門釜) to boil the soup. This pot is big enough to fit a person. Non-so-fun fact, they used to boil people alive in these things as a form of punishment for crimes. The pot is named after Goemon, the Japanese Robin Hood, who met his demise thusly. More-of-a-fun fact, many onsen hot springs have single-person sized Goemonburo (五右衛門風呂), a giant metal pot to bathe in.

Too long, didn't read? Horaiken cooks their soup in a big ol' pot.

Grab the special bowl with all the fixings, including spicy menma. It looks very tonkotsu, but by using a blend of chicken and beef with the pork, Horaiken is more balanced than your typical stinky Kyushu bowls.

Around since 1958.

Open for lunch only on weekdays, with dinner service on Fridays and Saturdays.

Official site here.

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