You can't go wrong with Ramen: Furano's 5 best Ramen restaurants
'Ramen', or long, stretchy wheat noodles in soup, is one of the most popular dishes in Japan.
Originally from China, this simple dish can be found in specialty ramen restaurants, or 'ramen-ya', all over Japan.
There are countless regional variations of ramen, but its basic elements make it impossible to go wrong when ordering.
Ramen is Japanese 'fast food', it is also considered as a 'comfort food'. Everyone loves ramen, which is eaten at any time of the day or night! At the end of this post, you can find a list of Furano's five best ramen restaurants.
Ordering ramen is typically done according to a choice of soup base, with the main types being 'Shoyu' or soy sauce, 'Shio' or salt, or 'Miso' or soybean paste. There is a fourth, less common soup variety known as 'Tonkotsu', which is made from simmering down pork bones into a milky broth.
'Shoyu' ramen is the most common type of ramen and will usually be served if the menu does not offer a choice of soups. Made predominantly from chicken broth, the soup is clear and is flavoured with soy sauce. The famous 'Asahikawa' regional ramen is a 'shoyu' ramen.
'Shio' ramen is also a clear, typically chicken-based broth, but with salt as the key flavouring.
'Miso' ramen, made with soybean paste, is typically a thick brown soup with a complex flavour. This heartier style of ramen originated in Hokkaido, in response to our long, cold winters. The famous 'Sapporo' regional variety of ramen is miso ramen.
The noodles in ramen are made from wheat and can come in many different varieties. Typical ramen noodles are long, stretchy and wavy. 'Shoyu' and 'shio' style ramen noodles are usually thinner and lighter than 'miso' style ramen noodles, which are fatter and more robust. Some 'ramen-ya' will allow you to customise your noodle order, but this may just be regarding the level of 'doneness'.
Then there are the toppings that add additional character to a bowl of ramen. 'Chashu' or fatty slices of pork is most common and a serve of two or three slices is typical. Extra slices can usually be ordered, at an additional charge.
'Menma' or preserved bamboo shoots, 'Negi' or 'chopped green onions, 'moyashi' or bean sprouts and 'Tamago' or egg (soft-boiled, raw or marinated) are all popular, traditional toppings. So too are sliced 'nori' or seaweed, 'kamaboko' or sliced steamed fish cake (usually with a touch of pink colouring), sweet corn and butter. Miso ramen is often served with a square of butter added, especially in Hokkaido.
Ramen is typically a 'one dish' meal, but side dishes can usually be ordered. 'Gyoza', or pan-fried dumplings, is a common side option, which also originated from China. Servings will be of 3 or 5 dumplings with a vinegary soy dipping sauce. You will also find a bottle of chilli oil on the table at a ramen-ya, to use to 'up the spice level' of any of the dishes served
A selection of the most popular 'ramen-ya' in and around Furano.
Tomikawa Seimencho Ramen - Furano shop
Branch of the longest-running ramen-ya in this region (est. 1997).
12-22 Hinodemachi, Furano
Tel: 0167 23 1965
Hrs: 11am - 8pm Weekends, 11am - 3pm & 5pm - 8pm weekdays.
(there is also a smaller branch of this ramen-ya located in the Furano Marche 2 complex in Furano's main downtown area.)
Tomikawa Ramen - Rokugo shop (original location)
Longest running ramen-ya in this region (est. 1997)
Mentioned in the Michelin Guide to Hokkaido: "Bib Gourmond"
5 Rokugo Shigaichi, Rokugo
Tel: 0167 29 2666
Hrs: 11am - 3pm daily
Specialises in serving 'black garlic' ramen. TripAdvisor #1.
12-6 Saiwaicho, Furano
Tel: 0167 23 2129
Hrs: 11 am -8 pm daily
Specialises in 'pumpkin ramen' when pumpkins are in season.
21-7 Kitanomine-cho, Furano
Tel: -167 23 3143
Hrs: 11:30am - 10pm daily
Specialises in Furano cheese ramen.
9-12 Motomachi, Furano
Tel: 0167 22 1692
Hrs: 11am - 8pm Summer, 11am - 5pm Winter (Nov-Mar)