Kyushu Ramen-athon: Shin-Shin

When a NYT writer mentions that she learnt the art of slurping ramen at this joint called Shin-Shin, the FOMO piglet in me screams “I’M. ON. IT!” So off the sis and I went on our last day trippin’ round Fukuoka.

This was attempt #2, as first attempt was thwarted by the fact that they observe Golden Week holidays seriously and actually close on those days. Painful lesson to learn when you are half-starved and dash like a mad person across Tenjin area’s sidestreets, only to find your delicious dreams of tonkotsu ramen dissolve in a mirage with the doors firmly shut in your face. With a big “CLOSE” sign, in case you didn’t get what closed doors mean in Fukuoka :(

Anyhoo, we made it in this time woohoo! It’s a cosy little joint which come night time could totally turn into a raucous sake/beer fueled free-for-all. Yeah, otsukare-sama bebeh!

Wall

Wall of autographs, courtesy of Shin Shin groupies!

Let’s get down to serious business:

Tonkotsu

Tonkotsu ramen: All ’em reviews give THIS tonkotsu baby so much cred. I was so so so excited to taste this porky little wonder! After all the hype and rave…it honestly tasted ok only to me :( The broth was standard flavourful pork bones stewed and blended with the sensei’s secret technique, but it lacked the buttery, velvety oomph which makes people do wonderfully obscene O-faces at the table. What the broth lacked, the multiple pieces of char-shu made up for it. The char-shu was nicely smoked, tender, not too fatty. There was seriously tons of it. Like as though a never-ending char-shu wishing well existed in that bowl woahhhhh.

She liked it, I don't geddit

She liked it, I don’t geddit

Fried mentaiko noodles

Mentaiko fried noodles: Mentaiko is supposed to be one of the famed food beauties of Fukuoka, so I knew I need to get me some mentaiko lovin’ before leaving! This was pretty delicious, and tasted just like fried wonton noodles in pork broth with sprinkles of savoury pinkish mentaiko tossed in between and crunchy bean sprouts/negi topping it off nicely.

All in all, not quite the ramen-slurping temple of worship * sad face*. But! This is a place to check off your tonkotsu craving if you are hungry, happen to wander around the Tenjin area, and longing for a bowl of noodles in hot broth. They serve Nagasaki champon as well! So if you are Nagasaki nostalgic, Shin-Shin will fix you up right.

–Sulsuls

Wherefore art thou?

Shin-Shin
3丁目-2-19
Tenjin, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka,
Fukuoka Prefecture 810-0001, Japan

Kyushu Ramen-athon: Ippudo

Homaigawd ramen chains in Japan are abso-frickin’-delicious..and convenient as they open till wee wee hours of the morning! Two of the most popular chains – Ippudo and Ichiran – started off in Fukuoka. And since the sis and I were in Fukuoka…must/ want/ should pay homage to these godfathers of tonkotsu ramen in their homeland!

We actually stumbled across an Ippudo restaurant along nishi-dori in the Tenjin area in Fukuoka. There on the front door was a big poster advertising this month’s special: tonkotsu ramen ala pork-chicken broth! HOLY MOLEY…WANT! After numerous bowls of sinfully fatty tonkotsu ramen across Fukuoka, my arteries were crying for a respite…but the tummy said stuff it and eat on. So Ippudo’s pork-chicken broth ramen which was much lighter and cloying than the usual pork-on-pork tonkotsu ramen was an awesome compromise!

Condiments

The wide array of condiments at every table – Kimchi bean sprouts and root vegetables, tangy pickled red ginger, sweet pickled kelp-like thing with sesame seeds, and whole slices of garlic! There’s actually a garlic crusher (accidentally cropped from pic whoops) which you can pop garlic slices into and out comes fresh minced garlic to stir into your ramen. Way cool, #onlyinJapan!

Ramen

It’s here! It was lust at first whiff and sight. Tender slices of succulent char-siu, crunchy cabbage slices, tender chicken meatballs seasoned with the most delectable hint of yuzu, crunchy tempura-like bits for that pop with each bite..all swimming in a deliciously light chicken-pork broth. The broth might be less heavy and rich than a full-on porky tonkotsu broth, but what it lacked in heaviness it more than made up for with wholesome, light flavours. And when you also have burst of yuzu from each mouthful of the chicken ball, mixed with crackling tempura bits…oh babyyyy heaven is a place on Earth!

Up close

Up close of each delectable morsel..if only you were a neverending refillable bowl of ramen *wistful*

Eating

TOTALLY ECSTATIC THEY USE FAT RAMEN NOODLES!!! Hakata style ramen favours long and skinny (why why why), but I’m a die-hard lover of the long and chubby (noodles), so thank you sweet ramen lord for listening.

Done!

Done and slurped almost every single drop of deliciousness!

Pork-chick tonkotsu ramen, you gonna be my #1 choice when I pay my respects next at Ippudo. I really (*10000000) hope that they have this in Tokyo too. Forever and ever. And ever ever.

–Sulsuls