Ramen is one of the most delicious foods in the world.
A ramen apprentice spends around 5 years in training before opening their own restaurant. A ramen chef will dedicate their life to perfecting the perfect bowl of ramen. And a single bowl of ramen can take up to 60 hours to prepare.
When you sit down at a steamy ramen restaurant counter, expect to devour food that speaks to your soul. Broth laced with umami flavour, thick slabs of slow-cooked pork, soft noodles that bounce like energetic springs, gooey eggs with yolk the colour of sunshine, and vegetables that taste of the earth… this is Japanese fanaticism at its best.
Sapporo – the capital of Hokkaido and home to some of Japan’s best ingredients – is where you’ll find a mecca of miso-style ramen restaurants. Over at Kuroko, we’re long-time fans of the hidden gems and the tiny hole-in-the-wall spots – here are our top 3 ramen restaurants in Sapporo and where to find them.
Menya Yukikaze is famed among locals for their creamy miso-based broth. Small and dingy from the outside with only 12-13 seats, you’d never guess this restaurant churns out some of the best ramen in Sapporo.
The ramen broth is dark yet delicate with shredded chicken rounding out the savoury flavour. A thick rectangular slice of charisu (slow-cooked pork) and an appropriate pile of local vegetables are placed on top for a mouthwatering presentation. Visit in the evening for a quick dinner before exploring the city.
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday in the evening.
Address: 4-2-6, LC Jyuichibankan 1F, Minami 7 Jonishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
Menya Saimi is the most popular ramen restaurant in Sapporo. The owner trained at the famous Sumire restaurant before opening Saimi 10 years ago. Since then, this ramen spot has become so popular that the local train station installed a sign to direct hungry ramen tourists to their destination.
As the most popular miso ramen in Sapporo, most worry it’s overrated (it’s not) and not worth the 30-minute wait time (trust me it’s worth it). Homemade noodles, a hint of fresh ginger in the soup, and a melody of salty and sweet make this ramen exceptional to even untrained pallets.
Opening Hours: 11:00 am – 3:15 pm 5:00 pm- 7:30pm. Closed Mondays and two times randomly per month.
Address: Menya Saimi 5 Chome-3-12 Misono 10 Jo, Toyohira Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
This one’s not a single ramen restaurant, it’s a collection of restaurants. Yokocho alley started back in 1951 when Japan was still recovering from WWII and cheap, fast food was in high demand. It’s where miso ramen originated and now hosts 17 renowned ramen restaurants.
Pass under the bright neon street sign and into a slower time when food was pure and wholesome. Each restaurant has a big board with pictures of their signature ramen to help you choose your favourite toppings. Go with an empty stomach and big eyes, and you’ll leave happy with your trousers just a little bit tighter.