How often can you sit down at a ramen-ya and listen to an 80 year-old Japanese-American man tell random stories about Manzanar? Not very often, but today must have been my lucky day. Unfortunately, I could only take an hour for lunch so I had to leave right when he began telling the story of how they used to sneak off the camp in the middle of the night, while the guards weren’t looking, to go fishing at the nearby creek. I wish I could have stayed longer. Anyway, I feel fortunate to have the freedom of being able to mindlessly travel from ramen-ya to ramen-ya. Being at Kyushu Ramen today has definitely put things in perspective.
Kyushu-ramen: I’ve seen this tonkotsu ramen mentioned favorably in comparison with the greats–Daikokuya and Shinsengumi–so I HAD to see for myself. So what did I think?…good but not even close to the greats. BUT, I’ll have to try it one more time to make a final decision. The noodles were overcooked so it threw my judgment of everything else off a bit. The chashu was flavorful but nowhere near as moist as Daikokuya. The rest of the toppings (egg, seaweed, spinach, naruto, menma, and negi) were just along for the swim.
Shoyu-ramen: The soup was very dark and that darkness transferred over to the noodles in discoloring fashion. The strong flavor was bearable, but not what I’ve been used to. The toppings (chashu, menma, egg, naruto, spinach, and negi) were great, but they also absorbed much of the soup’s color. If your taste buds yearn for strong, bold flavor, this ramen is for you.
Gyoza: There are two-types of gyoza served here: A regular gyoza (seen below) and a house special gyoza. I wasn’t quite sure what the main difference was, but the house special gyoza tasted a bit more garlicky. Both were good but I’d rather order the regular gyoza from now on. You can also choose between pork or chicken.