Only $9 for some of the best noodles in the country.

Ramen stores can be found everywhere in Japan, and while most of them offer mouthwatering noodles that will satisfy even the ficklest of customers, some restaurants surpass their peers and manage to achieve perfection in their craft.

Ramen specialist store Kagari is one such establishment headquartered in Ginza, having been featured in the Michelin Guide as part of their Bib Gourmand list of simple, savory dishes for the past two years. Our Japanese-language writer and Sapporo resident K. Nagahashi had always dreamed about visiting Kagari, but distance made it extremely difficult…

▼ …until a Sapporo branch opened recently in a shopping complex called Sitatte Sapporo.

The building is located a stone’s throw away from Sapporo Station, which makes it really accessible for locals hoping to taste top-quality ramen.

▼ Walking down the corridor felt like he was meeting his bride.

▼ His pulse raced as he approached the store.

▼ “No queue? What a stroke of luck!” he exclaimed happily.

Although the restaurant was indeed filled with people, Nagahashi thought he would find a long queue considering it was already lunchtime at 12:30 p.m. on a weekday. Good food and no need to stand around waiting, what more could he ask for?

The Soba in White Chicken Broth (1,000 yen, US$9) seemed like the safest option for his first-ever ramen order in Kagari.

▼ And when it arrived 15 minutes later, it took his breath away.

Simple in presentation and despite the “white” in its name, Nagahashi swore the ramen almost glowed with a comforting warmth like the golden sun.

▼ Perched atop the noodles were ingredients not commonly found in ramen like
grilled baby corn, white radish sprouts, potatoes, and avocado.

▼ Dipping into the soup, he was genuinely surprised at the richness of the golden broth.

Bringing the spoon up to his lips, a perfectly-balanced explosion of chicken and fish flavors assaulted his senses. This was not ramen anymore, but Japanese culinary art at its finest.

▼ Each mouthful of chewy al dente noodles …

▼ …matched perfectly with high-quality ingredients.

▼ Even the tender slices of chicken were packed full of flavor.

▼ Nagahashi took the crispy fried shallots and ginger that came with the dish…

▼ …and stirred them into the creamy soup,
adding another savory dimension to an already magnificent broth.

Kagari’s Soba in White Chicken Broth turned out to be one of the finest ramen Nagahashi has eaten in Japan, the taste of its creamy golden soup truly one-of-a-kind. Not to mention that 1,000 yen is extremely cheap for a culinary experience like none other. Now that he has finally tried the Michelin-approved ramen, the next thing on his bucket list would be that Piranha Ramen that everyone seems to be raving about.

Images: ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]