Four Types of Ramen that Represent Hokkaido
Photo Credit: MIKI Yoshihito@flickr
Hokkaido is well-known for the magnificent nature, comfortable onsen, attractive sightseeing spots, great foods made with Hokkaido’s local food such as seafood, agriculture products, and dairy products. Therefore, Hokkaido is always selected as one the most attractive prefectures in Japan in questionrnaires.
Hokkaido is a mecca for ramen in Japan. That is because some essential ingredients such as flours for the noodles, vegetables and seafood for the soup broth, and vegetables and meat for the toppings are harvested and caught in Hokkaido. Certainly, fresh ingredients make food much better. Some ramen shops make handmade noodles in Honshu area.
The top three most popular cities in Hokkaido are Sapporo, Asahikawa, and Hakodate. They are considered the three main ramen spots in Hokkaido. Recently Kushiro, which is the fourth most populated city in Hokkaido, has been added and became another top spot for ramen in Hokkaido.
Components of Ramen in Hokkaido
Most of the time, wavy noodles tend to be used in Hokkaido except in Hakodate where straight noodles are used.
Each area specializes in a certain flavor, for example, miso (fermented soy bean paste) is the main flavor in Sapporo, shoyu (soy sauce) in Asahikawa, and shio (salt) in Hakodate. However, almost all ramen shops serve all flavors. Because Hokkaido is such a cold place, Hokkaido residents love ramen that has a strong taste, it is said that it makes your body warm and the grease keeps the soup hot. Pork bone soup is frequently used, and some shops use seafood broth for the base of the soup.
Green onions, Chinese bamboo shoots, and roasted pork are the basic toppings for ramen. However, ramen shops in Hokkaido likes to usual local ingredients such as corn, crab, scallops, oysters, and butter.
Four Places to Eat Ramen in Hokkaido
#1. Sapporo Ramen
Sapporo ramen is made with a miso (fermented soy bean paste) based soup. The soup clings on to the wavy noodles, the noodles are slightly thick. Usually the vegetables are cooked with soup and then put in the ramen. There is a ramen shop that has been serving miso ramen in Sapporo since 1947. It has become popular nationwide and Sapporo has become a battleground for ramen in Japan. The Ramen Yokocho (Ramen Street) and the Ramen Kyowakoku (Ramen Republic) are famous tourist attractions where you can compare various ramen noodles at the same time.
#2. Asahikawa Ramen
Photo Credit: Zanpei@flickr
The noddles for Asahikawa ramen is thin and the soup based is shoyu (soy sauce). Asahikawa Ramen Mura (Asahikawa Ramen Village) opened in 1996 is a sightseeing spot and popular among tourists. Asahikawa ramen is unique because you pour a little oil over the ramen after it is finished cooking. The oil is poured over the ramen to keep the soup warm.
#3. Hakodate Ramen
Photo Credit: saeru@flickr
The noddles for Hakodate ramen are thin and the soup base is shio (salt). The ramen uses good quality pork bones for the soup stock so it is not super oily. Since Hakodate was a port city that was opened to the world after the Edo period, there were many new ingredients introduced to Japan. It is said that Hakodate was one of the first places to serve ramen in Japan.
#4. Kushiro Ramen
Photo Credit: Hajime NAKANO@flickr
Kushiro ramen is made with thin noodles and a shoyu (soy sauce) based soup. Kushiro residents are making an effort to promote their ramen to revitalize their town. In 2016, there was the Kushiro Ramen Festival, La Fiesta, it was the biggest ramen festival in Hokkaido.