Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sapporo Snow Festival: Ramen experience no 2

Both numb with the cold we decided to save the larger snow sculptures until the next day and head to the ramen shop that the head lady at the ryokan recommended. Ramen Alley? She said forget it. This ramen shop (sorry dont know the name!) was her personal favourite.

The ramen shop was......well a typical ramen shop; tiny, packed with people (mostly men) slurping on their ramen and beers and Japanese cooks with those towels on their heads running about.

Struggled a bit with the all Japanese menu but Maylee (who has no fear) asked the guy “ichi ban oishiee” and “ichi ban Hokkaido no yumei” which probably isn’t the best Japanese to ask for the best most famous ramen in Hokkaido but he understood (or probably just sent along with it as we were clueless tourists speaking broken Japanese) and recommended “Ichigo” and “shinshue”.

I opted for the spicier one served with a Sapporo beer (when in Sapporo and all that....)

To be honest I’m still not convinced why people rave on about ramen so much; glorified super noodles with a piece of fatty pork floating on the top and a pinch of spring onion springs to mind (god have I just committed total ramen sacrilege here!)

Maylee assured me that it wasn’t that great and she’d eaten better Hokkaido ramen in Kanazawa. “What?” I said “You mean you think that you can get better Hokkaido ramen in Kanazawa than the one at this ramen shop recommended to us by a local?” (She later told me she got it confused with ramen from a completely different area in Japan, DOH!!)

Maylee totally has the slurping thing down to a tee. I, however, seem to nearly choke every time I try and slurp. I still can’t quite get over that cultural hurdle though.

Maylee with bowl bigger than head slurping away with the rest of the locals in the ramen shop.

Before anyone starts commenting and in my defence can I just say that I read in "Eat, Sleep, Sit" that Zen Buddhist monks in training were also forbidden to make noises when they eat!

Anyway, ippai with ramen we headed back to the ryokan to get ready for our big night out in Sapporo!

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