I just wanted to write a few more details about the greatest bowl of ramen I have ever eaten in my life. On January 2nd, I was in Fukuoka for about seven hours as I waited for my Shinkansen back to Nagoya. Being the New Year’s holiday, most establishments were closed, and so the place was in many places like a ghost town. But I was hungry, and I wanted some tonkotsu ramen, which Fukuoka is famous for.
So after walking about an hour from the ferry terminal downtown, I came upon this place, which had a fast-moving line outside. I saw that the price was 650 yen for a bowl of ramen. I also noticed that just around the corner was another open ramen shop, completely empty, and selling their noodles for 380 yen a bowl. Obviously, there was something to the first place.
So I waited in line. While waiting in line, I read the establishment’s long-winded policy, written on a wooden plank above the door. (Hey, I am getting a little better - I only had to look up two kanji to read it). It basically said they are open 24/7/365, and they were dedicated to providing the highest quality ramen to their customers. Also, their standard is to serve the ramen within 33 seconds of placing the order. So you buy a ticket from the shokken (food ticket machine) from the outside (I also bought an extra order of pork and a 生ビール - draft beer). It took about 15 minutes to get through the line to the inside. The place was dark with red curtains all over the place. As we get to the end of the line, a shopmember gave me a slip of paper with about ten different criteria for my ramen - spiciness, garlic, ginger, and so on, and different levels for each one. I didn’t have time to read or understand the whole thing, but I was able to circle the middle one, or “standard” for each criteria.
When it was my turn, a blue light shone on a seating board up on the wall, and I was directed to my seat. It was just like a peep show or something - there was a red curtain in front of me, so I wasn’t allowed to look into the innards of the restaurant. I set my tickets and order slip down, and they were quickly snapped up. Definitely less than 33 seconds later, I was presented with the most heavenly bowl of broth and noodles I’ve ever experienced. Absolutely every single aspect of the noodles were perfect - temperature, consistency of the broth (not too fatty, not too thin, significant spiciness), a bit of pickled ginger. By the way, this was Hakata ramen, so the noodles are much skinnier than you usually see in Japan. Adding to that, the medallions of roast pork were divinely cooked, as if they waited until they extracted only the top 1 percent of the pig and threw the rest away. Literally, I was crying, it tasted so good. And although the serving size was maybe 2/3 the size of the usually hefty bowls of ramen you get in Japan, that in itself was another characteristic of this meal that made it perfect. It was exactly the right amount. I swear, I was thinking about how good this ramen was for the next two hours walking around the city. It may not even have been the best ramen in Fukuoka, as far as I know, but for this amateur ramen-lover, it satiated me in the best way possible. Most unimaginably highly recommended. Rating: 6 Godzillas