Ramen is some good eating. Some ramen is better than other ramen. All Japanese ramen is better than that crap that passed for ramen back in the States (which I used to love but now wouldn’t even give to my dog if he sat at my foot panting for it.)
And, yes, I too have my favorites. As far as Yokohama is concerned I can recommend two places.
1- First and foremost, I must recommend my favorite all-time Ramen spot. It’s called Yoshimura-ya and it’s located about 10 minutes from Yokohama Station. If you know the area, walk from the station past Vivre, past Tokyu Hands, and turn the corner. You can’t miss it. It would be the Ramen Ya with the benches out front filled with eager future patrons waiting upwards of 30 minutes outdoors just to get at the delectable dishes within. Yes, the lines can get pretty daggone long. But, I assure you, it is worth the wait. The flavor is worthy of the hype.
There’s a whole crew of guys slaving over meats and veggies. Usually, watching how food is prepared for a cluster of people is not an especially pretty sight. When I was in the Army and drew kitchen duty the experience almost turned me off to eating altogether. I mean, watching some guy stir 100 pounds of pork in a roiling vat of grease, watching pink turn to gray, is not very appetizing.
But, watching these guys do it, with all the zeal and professionalism of their trade, is another story. 1500 customers come through this place a day (and most of them seem to be waiting whenever I come here for some reason) and they relish the business in typical Japanese style.
And then there’s the final result:
Oishi sou dayo ne.
I have what is known in Japan as Nekoshita. Nekoshita means a cat’s tongue or a sensitive tongue. So Japanese-style slurping is not something I can do easily. Sometimes I still have to blow first.
But, nothing, least of all a slightly stinging tongue, can stop me from digging into some Yoshimura Ramen.
2- Okurayama’s Nanashi Ramen Shop: It’s across from the Okurayama station on the Tokyu Tohoku line.
Though the larger-than-life sign out front screams, “RAMEN!” at pedestrians, it’s a small place and if you blink you might miss it… so don’t blink. Because if you do you’ll miss out on one of the tastiest ramens you’ll ever have the pleasure of slurping.
If you’re wondering, Yep, it’ s as good as it looks. I’ve been coming here maybe twice a month for the past two years or so and it hasn’t let me down, yet. You can expect to leave here 1500 yen lighter (which is a little steep for ramen and a brew) but I’ve never felt bilked. Also on the menu is some great gyouza and their rice side dish (donburi) is all that.
If you’re in the area try them both out when you get a chance. You’ll be glad you did. Tell them Loco sent you…just for fun (-;
Ramen: one of those little things…