The Best Ramen in Japan
This was a fun year for travelling outside of Tokyo in search of great bowls. Much of my search was actually revisiting my favorite shops in as many prefectures as I could, and documenting it for a YouTube project that I am working on called Ramen Riders. But there were still many chances to try new, stellar bowls. Here are the eight bowls from Japan (and abroad) that made a big impact on me in 2017.
Nara Prefecture’s #1 ranked shop. Creamy chicken soup that is simple, with a very deep, lingering aftertaste.
I was on a cross-country ramen trip when I noticed that I had a shop nearby that someone had recommended. It turned out to be one of the best bowls of the year. Only open for a few hours at lunch, and they almost always sell out. Three or four different styles, and the two I tried were a testament to this one.
和海 (Nagomi in Hyogo)
Hyogo Prefecture’s #1 ranked shop. Chicken and primo dried fish make this one a solid pick for a recommendation.
The legend from Tokyo moved out to Amagasaki a few years back. Golden chicken oil, premium ingredients, and an atmosphere that needs to be seen. Perfect ramen in silence that is worth the trek.
My friend’s shop in Copenhagen is a huge success. I’m sure a lot has changed in the year since I tried this one, but they seem to be killing it out there. Homemade noodles with a mix of Japanese and Bornholme wheat, choice pork, and a secret tare base inspired by one of Tokyo’s most famous spots.
Nagi’s Hakata-style ramen in a collaboration with a New York BBQ spot? I was intrigued. Smoked brisket oil in ramen is a combo that more people should taste.
Famous, and super out of the way. Solid tonkotsu ramen in the land of tonkotsu ramen. The soup is lighter than most pork bone soups.
The definition of old school. Open since 1948, if you are every in Okayama seek this one out.
Please keep in mind that my annual lists are not a best-of, but just a personal reflection on what I wrote about throughout the year. More of my top bowl lists can be found: