Ramen - A Japanese Specialty


They say Sapporo is famous for many things, the clock tower (a particularly uninteresting piece of architecture), the TV Tower, sea food, the Maruyama ski jump, a number of other quirky claims to fame and last but not least Ramen Noodles. Ramen is a treat not to be missed in Sapporo or anywhere in Hokkaido for that matter Asahikawa is also famous for its hot and steamy noodles. These noodle shops are everywhere even in Niseko Hirafu where after a day or nights skiing you can warm yourself with a hearty bowl. Ramen comes in 3 major flavors, Shio (salt), Shouyu (soy sauce) and the mighty Miso. Miso is usually the choice for visitors and happens to be Sapporo's specialty. Originating in China the dish has been reworked to fit the Japanese palate and in Sapporo it is hard to walk more than a couple of blocks without seeing a Ramen sign. There was even a movie made about Raman called The Ramen Girl though I wouldn't recommend it. The dish itself is made up of a deeply flavored soup the consistency and flavor of which varies from each different establishment. Every bowl has a solid helping of noodles and the stock is usually pork, chicken or fish based. Each bowl is topped with slices of pork, bamboo shoots and bean sprouts. There are many variations to this but that is your basic Ramen. It is a simple yet delicious dish perfect to warm the cockles after a chilly Hokkaido day enjoying the snow festival, shopping, skiing or as a midnight feast after or mid way through a night on the town.