Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hokkaido Winter 2013 北海道冬季之旅 - Asahikawa Ramen Village (Ramen Mura) あさひかわラーメン村, Aoba 青叶

Visited 08.02.2013

Hokkaido is well known for its ramen culture, namely miso ramen from Sapporo, shio (salt) ramen from Hakodate and shoyu ramen from Asahikawa. Asahikawa Ramen Village was opened in Aug 1996 and is made up of eight established ramen restaurants all originated from Asahikawa - aimed to spread the ramen culture that Asahikawa is proud of; introduce the taste of ramen to all corners of Japan and the world. Like this one-stop concept where you can savour each restaurant's very own creation/receipe of how a good hearty bowl of ramen should be like. Decided to make the trip to take a look at this place despite being able taste the same ramen in Heiwa-dori shopping street. There is even a shrine in the village - "Menmusubi" Shrine, where people come and pray for their romantic relationships to be as hot as ramen broth and to last as long as noodles. 

Features of Asahikawa Ramen: the idea of keeping the broth warm by covering the surface with a film of lard; soy sauce flavoured broth made from pork bones and seafood stock; and fair and wavy noodles with less water content. 

Do you know? Famous Asahikawa Ramen restaurants such as Santouka (火头山) and Baikohken (梅光轩) have extended their businesses out of Japan and have opened outlets in Singapore.
Santouka - in Central (Clarke Quay) and Cuppage Road
Baihohken - in Takashimaya and North Canal Road


Aoba 青叶

Made one round in the village, peeking into each shop to understand the business status - noticed that business for most shops was not as brisk as expected on this day. Chose Aoba as it was recommended by one of the travel guidebooks. Aoba has been around for more than half a century (was established in 1947). Shop is proud of their broth which is made of pork bone, chicken breast bone, Rishiri kombu and vegetables, with no artificial flavourings added.

Left: Shoyu Ramen; Right: Gyoza and Miso Ramen

Had to order their specialty char siew shoyu ramen to try. Soup was flavourful and you can taste the goodness from the harvests of both land and sea, all locked within the bowl of soup. Personally felt that it was on the saltier side (which is quite typical of ramen in Japan). Found the soup to be oiler which is meant to retain the heat within the bowl for as long as possible - especially important in the cold weather. On the other hand, the gyozas were pan-fried to perfection with juicy meat and vegetables fillings - to me was an exceptional side dish to go with a hot bowl of ramen. 


Asahikawa Ramen Village (Ramen Mura) あさひかわラーメン村
Approx 5 - 10 mins walk from Minami-Nagayama JR Station. 
Opening hours: 1100 - 2100 hrs
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