Tokyo is always a good start for first timers to Japan as she will definitely lure you back. But when you are done with Tokyo, don’t forget the northern part, Hokkaido as she, in my opinion, has more to offer. Not only is it more scenic and calming, its food scene is relatively comparable as well in the bigger cities of Hokkaido.
I can still vividly remember how memorable was that bowl of Sapporo ramen I had 2 years back when I visited Sapporo. It is compulsory for almost every tourist to make his/her way to the Sapporo Ramen street when he/she is there. Every ramen shop lined along that street, I believe, sells really fragrant and not expensive ramen.
For me, I chose the one that was closest to the road as it has the most number of customers there. If I’m not wrong, it’s called ramen yokotei. It’s interesting to see how busy the Japanese working adults are. They are usually clad in their business suit and would leave promptly after the meal. No one stays any longer to chat.
So, I ordered one bowl for myself and look at how many slices of char siew was served. You can find this nowhere else I think, except for Japan. Priced at about 1000 yen per bowl, I think that’s really worth it. Of course, the ramen exceeded my expectations. Noodles were springy and broth was fragrant. Char Siew was thick, succulent, chewy and satisfying. I always think that the most definitive ingredient in Ramen is its char siew. Once that is perfect, the ramen will usually be a hit. And I slurped all my noodles as loudly as the Japanese. I realised it is much nicer if you slurp it up loudly. The texture and taste of the noodles just feel better. Do not be shy to slurp loudly as the chef would then know that his food is appreciated. The seaweed though looks a little bit like a talisman. Indeed, Sapporo is worthy of its name as the city of Ramen. Really hope to go back there again and I have so far never tried any ramen close to this standard!