This is the season for RAMEN!
You may have heard of Instant Ramen. I have nothing against instant noodles but let me tell you, the difference is like hamburger and steak. They are NOTHING alike! And I'm sorry to say, I have never had a good bowl of shop made ramen noodles while I've been in the States. On practically every trip home after Tetsu picks me up after being a month in the States, I crave for ramen!
When it starts to get cold, steaming, bowls of hot noodles beckons from the noodle shops. And there are soooo many! I have heard of people traveling around Japan to sample the different types of ramen found here and there and there is quite a connoisseur cult. You can get miso ramen, or soy sauce ramen or salt ramen or pork broth ramen... And within each of those categories, each shop has it's own specialty or something that distinguishes its noodles from any other shop. One could easily just eat ramen daily for a year in my city and never have to go to the same shop twice.
(Soba noodles shops and udon noodle shops also abound in Japan and those are even more traditional and have their own cult of followers... Ramen is originally from China so I'm sure Chinese would NOT consider Japanese ramen authentic either....)
Tetsu LOVES ramen and we eat green onion ramen or cold ramen, or Chashu ramen (roasted pork).
This was our ramen meal the other day. Chicken broth ramen with lots of chashu and flavored bamboo shoots. The little pink-white circles are slice fish cakes. Yum! This shop's ramen has a nostalgic flavor and just walking into the shops takes us back 30 or more years... Pepper in hole punched bottle lids... numerous calendars on the walls...
And look at this! A working dial type telephone! You can't find those anymore in Japan though when I came to Japan every house kept one in their entryway. And yes, they all had these pretty little crocheted lace telephone covers!
We warmed up nicely with our hot ramen.