Komen – Cheese Miso Ramen

Komen–written 幸麺–literally means “Happy Noodles,” and this is for sure true. I don’t know why it’s been taking me so long to get around to writing this one, since this is one of my favorite ramen joints in the city (and I’ve tried quite a few)–not to mention I’ve probably been here more than any other restaurant in Utsunomiya. I even took a friend visiting from Sendai here on his first visit, and every subsequent time he came, he insisted that we come here.

About 80% of the time I get the same order: cheese miso ramen. Because it’s fantastic. It’s rich and fatty and flavorful, and a lot. Seriously, when you come here, come with a buddy (unless you’re a competitive eater, I guess), because the ramen portions are ginormous. I highly recommend you split the ramen between two (or even three) people and order some gyoza on the side, because no matter how delicious the soup noodles are, you’ll get tired of it after eating nothing but it straight, and you won’t have the stomach space for both noodles and dumplings. I’ve even eaten here with a group of policemen, and they were struggling (managed, but struggled).

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Granted, I’m not won over by their gyoza personally. My friend mentioned above absolutely loved them, but I thought they were just ok (not bad, just not amazing, but good to have in any case as a palette cleanser).

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Pan-fried and deep-fried gyoza. The bowl of ramen is in the top right corner for size reference.

After coming here so much, somewhere in the middle I decided to try another menu item, their miso-chige (Korean-influenced) ramen. They advertise it pretty heavily in their menu, giving it half a page, so I decided it’d be worth a try.

Honestly, I was not crazy about it at all, and regretted not getting more cheese miso ramen. It was more like tsukemen (ramen noodles you dip in sauce, instead of coming in a bowl of soup), which isn’t my preferred style to begin with. The sauce was heavy and mud-like, pleasantly “toro-toro” the waitress told me, but which was just unpleasant to my own tastes. It wasn’t spicy, and was still just a lot of the same thing.

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Bottom line: get their miso ramen. Especially the cheese miso ramen. It’s really top-notch, and even customized with toppings won’t set you back more than about ¥1000 a bowl.

熟成田舎味噌らーめん 幸麺 (Komen)
宇都宮市戸祭元町4-5
028-623-4455
Hours: 11:00-9:00* (or until soup runs out)
*on break from 3:00-5:00

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