I was really excited about this ramen once I made my order and actually forgot to take a legitimate picture of it (sorry). However, this ramen is that good. And also really bad for your arteries.
I’m normally not the biggest fan of shio (clear broth) ramen (which is what the small restaurant advertises on the outside), but decided to stop by here on a whim anyways. As soon as I stepped in the door, I knew I had made a good choice. It’s located in a bit of a dark area outside the main street just east of JR Utsunomiya, so it gets a fairly local (not the party-going) crowd. The old couple who run it are also extremely friendly and were excited to have a foreigner in their establishment, and chatty enough when I asked for suggestions, and at the same time professional enough to not be sticking around for too long.
Which you may need to ask for a recommendation because they have an interesting menu. Apparently they specialize in special rock salt broth and import their salt from various locations across the world–notably Mongolia, Bolivia, and Okinawa. I was going to order either the Mongolian or Bolivian (the owner said that one is slightly sweeter than the other), but when I asked for the ultimate recommendation, he told me the white tonkotsu ramen. Being the sucker that I am for the thick pork broth, I forgot all about the rock salt.
And I was not disappointed. For ￥760, the broth was fantastic, and perfectly accented with fried garlic. Small chunks of fat were covering the top of the broth and made me visually regret eating slurp after slurp, but it was so good and so addictive. The noodles were just average, but even the menma (fermented bamboo shoot) was good–I often judge ramen restaurants by how palatable their menma is because I usually find it as repelling as mold or blue cheese. Bottom line: they know what they’re doing.
Looking around, there were also small posters advertising other types of ramen and sides not listed on the menu, so maybe I’ll take my time ordering next time. There for sure will be a next time.