Sometimes the most familiar things in life spring up in the most unexpected of places.

If one were to ask one of our biggest foodie reporters, Ikuna Kamezawa, the first restaurant to come to mind when the word “ramen” is mentioned, her answer would probably be Dosanko. A ramen chain known for its hearty miso broth, and more recently, rainbow noodles, Dosanko occupies a special place in Ikuna’s heart, which is why when she was visiting Paris and heard there was a Dosanko branch in one of its 20 arrondissements (districts), she knew she had to check it out for herself. 

It was a cold morning when Ikuna set out. Powdered snow twirled in the air and speckled the ground in an evaporating white, and Ikuna thought there could be no better day to enjoy a piping hot bowl of ramen stewed in a red miso broth. She beelined straight to Paris’ 1st and 2nd arrondissement, which is also known by locals as “Japantown.”

▼ Please note this investigation of Parisian ramen was done in November of 2019.

▼ To Ikuna’s surprise, there was also a Japanese bank located in the area.

Similar to the slew of store signs labeled “Onigiri,” “Izakaya,” and “Sushi” in bold font,  “Dosanko Larmen” was no different with its name emblazoned in thick brushstroke font. It was a little jarring to see such familiar characters in the middle of Paris for our reporter, and inspecting the shop’s exterior, the outside advert displaying some of Dosanko’s best miso ramen felt polished and refined to Ikuna. But of course, one could never judge a book by its cover, and Ikuna stepped into the relatively packed restaurant.

Besides miso ramen, Dosanko also offered shoyu (soy broth) ramen, shio (salty broth) ramen, and seasonal varieties. However, since Dosanko’s signature is miso ramen, and its taste lingered in the subconscious of Ikuna’s memories, it only made sense to go for the miso.

As Ikuna put in her order, observing the counter and its busy staff behind it, awash in a stream of fluent Japanese as the head chef commandeered the kitchen, she almost felt like she was back home in Japan until a specific sign caught her eye.

▼ Japanese: “Watch out for pickpockets!”

Just like that, Ikuna was taken out from her reverie, but it came to no surprise. As a sprawling metropolis, public safety in Paris wasn’t the best with lots of folks having a story or two about their wallets, smartphones, and other valuables getting stolen. Ikuna herself had walked down many a road where she carefully watched her surroundings and clutched her shoulder bag close to her body.

Further compounding her renewed sense of distance was also a sign basically offering thinner ramen broth upon request, a concept more unfamiliar in Japan where personal substitutions for ordered meals aren’t commonly granted.

▼ Paris: a city of people both good and bad, and apparently of broths both thick and thin as well.

Before Ikuna could muse more about Paris’s complicated multitudes as both a home to a nostalgic ramen shop of her youth yet dissimilar at the same time, her order arrived in full steaming glory. It was the “Light Miso Royal,” which was a whooping 13 euros or 1,700 yen (US$15.46). While it was probably twice the price of its counterpart in Japan, Ikuna figured given how high cost of living was in Paris, the ramen wasn’t actually too expensive all things considered.

▼ Of course, we can never skip out on the good ol’ corn, egg, and chashu combo.

Next was the most important part: determining if Dosanko in Paris would taste the same as Dosanko back home. Watching the black sesame seeds float on top of the broth, Ikuna had to admit there was a striking similarity in terms of how the ramen looked. If there’s one significantly important characteristic about Dosanko ramen, though, it’s its distinctive flavor. Ikuna lifted a few noodles from her bowl and the first thing which came to mind first bite was…

▼ … it tasted normal!

Perhaps normal may be a strange term to use in this situation, but truthfully when it comes to characterizing how Dosanko ramen tasted, very rarely would anyone in Japan say it’s a “superbly delicious ramen.” However, regardless if one is a wee child or an elderly individual, Dosanko’s main appeal point is its unassuming, straightforward flavor profile of a delicious miso-based broth paired with chewy noodles. And as Ikuna dug into her bowl, she reckoned that even in Paris, she was able to find a taste of home after all.

As mentioned above, it’s been a while since Ikuna stopped by Dosanko Larmen in Paris, but the restaurant is still in operation, and she heavily recommends it for anyone craving authentic ramen. And if you’re curious about her experiences where she tries Japanese food items overseas, check out her time eating sushi in New Delhi or checking out another Japanese ramen chain in Paris’s city center.

Restaurant information
Dosanko Larmen, Paris
Address: 40 Rue Sainte-Anne, 75002 Paris France

Photos © SoraNews24
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