The non-negotiables when I’m travelling abroad with friends or family are the sights to see and the food to eat. I can scrimp on room accommodations and modes of transportation but the gastronomic exploits needs to be remarkable. Besides epicurean remarkability need not be expensive and extravagant.
That is exactly what I and my family had when we were in Hokkaido. Since Sapporo is the birthplace of Miso Ramen, letting the humongous chance to try the authentic would simply be absurd.
That is why we had Miso Ramen not once but twice while we were there. The enticement is just too strong that is why we tried twice which I classify as the old and the new forms.
First stop was Horyu (TakaraRyu), a Sapporo Ramen specialist operating since 1957. Prior to going to Sapporo, we were not aware of the existence of this ramen house located right at busy street of Sapporo-Ekimae Dori. This was actually our first meal after our smooth flight from Osaka to Hokkaido. Everybody were so hungry we almost ended up eating inside a FamilyMart near our hotel.
But thrusting and trusting my instinct on which food establishment to dine by the mere look of the façade, I urged my family to dine in this authentic Japanese ramen house. And by the looks, smell and taste of the special miso ramen served by Horyu (TakaraRyu), I can proudly say that my hunger instinct did not fail me that time.
It is surprising to note that as you enter Horyu (TakaraRyu), photos of Japanese celebrities are posted on the wall enjoying their miso ramen. What is also surprising to know is that this restaurant has been awarded the Governor of Hokkaido Prize because of its traditional taste and old-fashioned way of preparing miso ramen. My further research about Horyu (TakaraRyu) indicates that this ramen house is a very successful and well distinguished food establishment in Japan operating in multiple branches in 9 prefectures in Japan. And the one we dined at (with a total of 29 seats only) was the main or premier branch were all its success started.
Another opportunity we embraced to enjoy slurping the now universal classic Miso Ramen (aka Sapporo Ramen) was on the night when we just came from adoring the sparkling ice carving exhibits at Susukino. This time we tried the new and modern-day ramen house called Kita Ichi. As expected, I ordered the ramen with the biggest photo on the menu called Tokusen Miso, in which my nephew translated as high-grade or Special Miso.
Kita Ichi is a new ramen house that is starting to swell and pop up like shitake mushrooms in Hokkaido. The outlet were we dined is actually not available/posted yet in Google (can’t find it!).
After clearly demolishing the bowls of Horyu (TakaraRyu) and Kita Ichi, I can profess that there really is no clear-cut difference in terms of my enjoying the delicious Sapporo Ramen. May it have been served and prepared by an old or a new ramen house, I consider both as the 7th level of heaven…