If you are a Japanese ramen fan, you may have heard of Hakata ramen and Hokkaido ramen. What are the differences? Where can you find them in KL? We sent our Japanese GoMakaner in residence, Keiko, to survey the city and teach us a little about this wonderful dish. Let’s take a look at what she found.
Hakata ramen originated from the Hakata district in Fukuoka city, Japan. The soup is a milky white, tonkotsu (pork-bone) based broth, and the noodles thin and straight much like the noodles you find in local wantan mee.
At many Hakata ramen shops in Japan, you can choose how hard or soft you want your noodles in several levels; “Bari Yawa (very soft),” “Yawa (soft),” “Kata (hard),” “Bari Kata (very hard),” “Harigane (steel wire),” and “Kona Otoshi (which means that noodles are dipped in boiling water just enough to remove the excess flour). You can also select how strong or thick you would like your soup to be and how much oil you want.
In addition, many Hakata ramen restaurants in Japan have the “Kaedama” system, which means customers can order a noodle refill to eat with the remaining soup in the same bowl.
Hokkaido ramen originated in Hokkaido, Japan and it is a generic term for ramen of each locality in Hokkaido prefecture. The following are three major regional variations of Hokkaido ramen.
1. Sapporo ramen
The birthplace is Sapporo city, Hokkaido. Sapporo ramen uses a tonkotsu based broth, flavored with miso, and the soup color is cloudy brown. Noodles are wide and curly. Distinctive toppings are butter, corn and seafood.
2. Asahikawa ramen
This ramen originated from Asahikawa city in Hokkaido. Soup is seafood and chicken or tonkotsu based broth with lard flavored with soy sauce, and the soup color is a clear dark brown. Noodles are medium thin and curly.
3. Hakodate ramen
The birthplace is Hakodate city, Hokkaido. Soup is a clear tonkotsu based broth flavored with salt. Noodles are medium wide and straight. Some people claim that Japanese ramen was first served in Hakodate, Hokkaido.
Many regions in Japan have their own variations of ramen, and the ones from the Hakata district and Hokkaido prefecture are the most prominent. Besides Hokkaido and Hakata ramen, Kitakata, Wakayama, Onomichi, Kumamoto, Tokyo, and Yokohama ramen are also famous regional ramen in Japan.
Japanese people seem to be very particular about small differences in ramen – but it is because ramen is one of the most beloved dishes in Japan!
Check out these restaurants for some hearty Hakata style or Hokkaido style ramen:
● Hakata Ippudo（博多 一風堂）
● Hokkaido Ramen Santouka（北海道らーめん山頭火）
● Ikuzo Ramen（行くぞ～！ラーメン）
● Ramen Izakaya Kazushi（ラーメン居酒屋「和司」）
●Marutama Ramen @ Fahrenheit 88（まる玉ラーメン）