31 2013 Dec

Ramen Alley Junkie

Japan, SapporoTagged char, crab ramen, fried, rad brothers, ramen, ramen alley, susukino, wok

New Year’s Eve, a time when normal people prepare to bring in the new year. Some get dressed up to the nines, breaking out their top hat and head out to drink. Others stay home and live vicariously through the television. And then there’s me, spending as much time possible in Ramen Alley. Visiting all the noodle pushers to see the latest fix. What’s in this bowl? How about that one? Oh you get both king crab and scallops? I need to change my pants. If I could eat here all day I would, but the shops start opening up around 11am. I know this because even if the place looked open, we were instantly ushered out when we walked in. Damn it, we had to actually wait for lunch time. I wanted my crack bad. Well, after wasting time for a couple hours, we came back with one goal, eat the hell out of this alley. I’ll post pictures of the places here because the Japanese pinyin signs are tiny and hard to find.



Verdict: The winner of all the ramen shops on this trip.

This place was crowded yesterday, and even as we waited for it to open, there was a line forming for it. In Asia, lines are good. This place was no exception. The owner showcased his popular ramen, which did not disappoint one bit. When I was done I was ready to slip into a food coma. My buddy held off eating because we were headed back here in a couple hours. What? Don’t you worry, I’ll eat again. And I did, the place across the way.



Verdict: Not too shabby, but even if the line at the ramen places, I’ll try a different shop.

So as my buddy caught up on Teshikaga, which he certified was a great place, I was over here. It was full before and by the time I showed up, there were a few seats available. Given that I haven’t truly had Hokkaido ramen. You know, the butter and corn stuff. I went with their Hokkaido special, because with a name like that, I can’t go wrong. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all that. But the place was good. Things were fried up in the wok and served fresh in my bowl. Still trying to get used to that flash fry thing they have going on. Good, but how do I explain this to the folks back home. I guess a video will have to do.

At this point it we were full. What to do but to celebrate the new year. Back to Rad Brothers. Sure it was a bit expat’ish. But I didn’t want to feel out of place or sit at a bar where we couldn’t talk to anyone. Glad we went back, because I learned something new there. For the New Year’s celebration, they had a barrel of sake. A barrel that they’ll ladle to patrons when the clock hits midnight. Yeah, you let the bartender pour it down your face as a celebratory right of passage. How else would you have it? That was quite a bit of sake. As the night weaned away and my unconscious nudging me to get something other than alcohol in my stomach, it was off to find more ramen. No bueno for Ramen Alley. Shops had closed up early. Actually, it seemed like everything was closed. Was it because it was now officially new year’s day or was 1am closing time. I’ll never know.

There was hope though. We saw a shop on the corner that was open and I saw ramen.

Man Ryu

<sorry, no photo of the place. blame my drunkenness>

Verdict: Not recommended.

Yeah, this was a late night place catering us drunk fools. So quality wasn’t the main goal. It was food fast and food salty for you to chug more water. Sober up and get the hell out. We did just that. I don’t remember how my friend got takoyaki, but he did. Fuzzy memories are failing me. Man, I need to cut back on drinking. I’ll save that for the new year. Happy two thousand f#$king fourteen.


With so many ramen shops to choose from, I was in decision paralysis until I gave up on picking the perfect place. I choose to play it by numbers. The more I try, the better chance I'll land a good one.

Ramen Alley

Here's what it looks like down the corridor of despair. If I stayed any longer in Sapporo, you'll find me here begging for money, saving up for that oh-so addicting soup. But in another life, I'd love to open up shop here.

Hokkaido Special @Kumakichi

Cute little bowl. It looked like they were trying to win me over with the bear. Nah, gotta do it with some fantastic ramen. It didn't quite get there. It's solid though. ¥1000JPY

Ox Impressions: 

House Ramen @Teshikaga

My favorite ramen here in Sapporo. We need this back home. Crispy pieces of pork, nice mellow soup, and the egg, oh how I love my eggs like this, were so yum. ¥880JPY

Ox Impressions: 

Crab Scallop Ramen @Man Ryu

Meh. Not the best words to describe a dish that has both crab and scallops in it. But it basically wasn't too good even when I was a little tipsy. Looks like it should have been right? ¥1400JPY

Ox Impressions: 

Sapporo Beer Museum

We tried to kill some time by visiting the Sapporo Beer Museum. Didn't happen. They were closed over the holidays. So here is a not very appealing shot off the outside. We should be in there taking drunk pictures frolicking among the kegs and kegs of happy water.

New Year's Drum of Sake @Rad Brothers

Here's the hammer for New Year's. Once midnight hit, drinks for everyone. Line up quickly because this does run out. A great first time experience drinking out of a drum. A drum of sake!

Ox Impressions: 

Getting Drunk @Rad Brothers

Yay to the friendly people in Sapporo. We drank, we talked, we sang, and we got some advice on places to go. One didn't turn out so great. A place called Club Booty. Probably a better place for the younger me ten years ago. I'll stick with this place where I can actualy talk to people.

The OxPosted December 31, 2013 By the hungry ox

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