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Friday, January 23, 2009



When I want to eat a good one at home, I have to order it from a shop in Fukuoka. We call such local specialty foods "Gotouchi gourmet". Japan is such a small country, though foods are quite variable depending on area and prefectures. For example, Okinawa style will be a world famous one. Even for the same food, taste and cooking styles are so different in each area. Ramen is getting popular now, I read Ippudo in NY is very appreciated by New York people. Ippudo's ramen is a very creamy white soup made from pig bone. We call it Tonkostu ramen. In Hokkaido miso ramen with miso base soup is a local specialty. In Tokyo, it is Shyoyu ramen with soy sauce base.

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Kitakara city in Fukuoka pref is the most famouse city for ramen. There are over 120 ramen shops in the city (population is about 30000) and the ratio of ramen shops is the highest in Japan. Their ramen is soy sauce based and the noodles are thicker than usual. Okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza) is a famous food in Osaka and Hiroshima. Osaka style has usually no noodle and egg is mixed into dough.

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Hiroshima style has noodle, and egg is used like a cover in the bottom or top. Okonomiyaki or Tonkotsu Ramen are very popular and Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka people are proud of those as their "local soul food", but Tokyo doesn't have such food, I am a little bit envious of it. I will pick famous gotouch food here, hopefully you can try not only Sukiyaki and sushi, but also such local specialty foods.

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Hi Mari, I've been reading your blog for over a year now. Great blog you have here! Brings me back to my days in Tokyo. Just wanted to point out that Tokyo does have a local soul food - it's monjayaki! When I first arrived in Tokyo in 2001, I can't get it outside Tokyo and it's delicious!


Hi there Ippudo is great, try it, try it!


Mmmmm, I want the Miso Katsu!!! Thanks for the list ;-)


I haven't been to Ippudo in New York, but I've been to almost every other Ramen shop here and I can tell you that New York Mag (the link above) doesn't know what they're talking about. Most of the ramen shops down in the East Village are really bad, including all of the other ones listed in that article. I don't think most New Yorkers know what makes good ramen, because they've never had the real thing. The New York Times has also given good writeups to both Setagaya and Minca down there, and I think they're just not good at all.

I've had ramen a bunch of times in Tokyo so I can at least compare to that - and closest thing in New York is Menchanko-tei on I think 55th St. I haven't had ramen in Hakata but I actually like their Hakata ramen the best. It's all good, though.

But yeah, ramen is getting popular here... but still, most New Yorkers are very unsophisticated when it comes to distinguishing quality. It's like how we were with sushi like 10-15 years ago. Not that I'm an expert or anything but it's not hard to compare ramen in New York with ramen in Tokyo if you've had both.


Awesome. Thanks for the list!

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