Major Ramen Powerhouse Well-Known Only to Those in the Know! The 5 Big Ramen in Niigata
It isn’t well-known on a national level, but Niigata is a major ramen powerhouse that hardcore ramen fans often go visit. Here are 5 types of ramen that are considered the big 5 in Niigata, as well as some recommended restaurants for each type!
First entry in the list is "Niigata Light Ramen", which can often be seen in Niigata City. Since it is a port city, one characteristic of the ramen is its clear niboshi (dried sardines) soup, which usually comes with thin noodles.
This restaurant is so well-known that it almost became the representative of Niigata Light Ramen. It is recommended to try their “Chuka Soba (600 JPY (incl. tax))". The thin, yet chewy noodles and rich, yet not too heavy taste is the secret to its popularity.
The next entry is a local ramen that is often seen in Tsubame City and Sanjo City. Its main characteristics are: Thick noodles, soy sauce-based niboshi soup, and a diced onion topping. However, the main distinctive feature is that it has plenty of pork back fat that completely covers the soup. It is popular for its rich taste.
"Jun Main Branch" is a famous restaurant that is said to be the origin of Tsubame Ramen. The signature dish here is "Chuka Soba (700 JPY (incl. tax))". The mixture of its mildness and richness is pure perfection.
Originating from Nagaoka, "Nagaoka Ginger Shoyu (Soy Sauce) Ramen" is known for its ginger soup, as the region is a cold area with heavy snow. The ginger warms you up really well! The base of the soup is pork broth and soy sauce, and its taste is rich with a light aftertaste. It is popular for its simple taste.
"Mizusawa Yoshida Branch" is a sister branch of the popular ramen restaurant with the same name in Nagaoka City. Pork bone, vegetables, and other ingredients are cooked for two days, and they make simple yet rich ramen. It is recommended to give "Ramen (750 JPY (incl. tax))" a try.
"Rich Miso Ramen" from Niigata City is a great dish of noodles with seasoned miso sauce and pan-fried vegetables. One unique feature of this ramen is its diluted soup that you can adjust the richness of according to your preference.
"Komadori" is a popular ramen place known as the origin of this "miso ramen with diluted soup". Recommended is their "Miso Ramen (714 JPY (incl. tax))". Their homemade chewy thick noodles go really well with the miso-based soup, and together with a bunch of vegetables, it tastes ridiculously good.
Other than back fat ramen, curry ramen has also been loved by the locals in Sanjo City. There are a lot of curry ramen restaurants in the city, from traditional ones that just pour curry on the ramen to advanced ones that pay extra attention to the curry by aging and seasoning them.
"Suehiro" is a well-established ramen restaurant founded over 80 years ago. Recommended is "Curry Ramen (740 JPY (incl. tax))", which is curry ramen with homemade noodles that have a rich wheat flavor and mild curry sauce with pork and onions.
That's the list! Found any ramen that you want to check out? It would be fun to try and compare them all!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.