Osaka is said to be the “kitchen of the country” and the “capital of food”. Though its most famous dish is takoyaki (octopus dumplings), it houses many restaurants that serve up delicious ramen. Below are 10 recommended ramen joints around Umeda, the center of Osaka.
1. Kamukura Hankyu Sanbangai Branch
Oishii Ramen (630 JPY (incl. tax)) – an addicting and healthy dish with a mellow taste – is the bestseller at this popular joint. The appeal of this ramen lies in its prized secret soup, which was created after a series of trial and error by the French founder. It draws out the natural sweetness and richness of generous amounts of Chinese cabbage and pork ribs, resulting in a mild yet flavorsome soup. Furthermore, it has high nutritional value and is low in calories!
2. Maratantanmen DOJIMA
This mala tantan-men (a spicier version of tantan-men) shop also sells authentic Chinese cuisine. Try the two types of tantan-men (Chinese-style ramen with sesame paste and chili oil in its soup) available here: the Shirogoma Tantan-men (white sesame tantan-men) (700 JPY (incl. tax)) and Kurogoma Tantan-men (black sesame tantan-men) (700 JPY (incl. tax)). Through them, you can taste the store’s specialty soup, made by blending six types of soy sauce from Japan, China, and Taiwan with brown sugar, homemade Chinese sesame paste, chili oil, and sansho (prickly ash) oil. Another extremely popular dish is the Shirunashi Tantan-men (tantan-men without soup) (800 JPY (incl. tax)), which has a distinct spiciness thanks to a combination of homemade sweet soy sauce and sesame paste. Why not order one of these tantan-men with another dish that uses spices from China, like the Szechuan Mabodofu (Szechuan-style dish of tofu and minced meat) (600 JPY (incl. tax))?
Here, you can eat tsukemen (a kind of ramen that’s eaten by dipping noodles into a separately provided soup) with special noodles, as well as ramen (prices start at 700 JPY (incl. tax)). Made by adding whole-wheat flour to wheat flour, increasing the water ratio, and aging them, the shop’s noodles have the right level of body and springiness. The special tonkotsu soup that they use is made by boiling all of the good parts of domestic pork for a long time at an extremely high temperature. Seafood extract is then added to the thick and rich soup to further enhance its flavor. Simmered in the shop’s special sauce, the char siu – made with pork shoulder – tastes even better when eaten together with the noodles.
4. Tamagoroh Hankyu Sanbangai Shop
Tamagoroh has many branch stores, with many of them located in Osaka. Here, you can savor double soup ramen that has a distinct niboshi (dried sardines) taste, as well as tsukemen (prices start at 700 JPY (incl. tax)), while listening to the jazz music in the background. The double soup is a mixture of cloudy pork broth – made by boiling pork bones for more than 12 hours – and thick seafood broth, which is made from anchovies, katsuo (bonito), and mackerel. For the ramen, this shop uses medium-thick curly noodles that can hold more water than usual. They are chewy and go down smoothly, making them a great match with the soup! English, Chinese (traditional and simplified), and Korean menus available.
5. Mannen Umeda Main Shop
The main branch of this ramen store is in Umeda. It takes pride in its tonkotsu soup, which is made by slow-cooking pig’s head and knuckles for more than 10 hours. The noodles used are custom-ordered, medium-fine straight noodles that perfectly balance with the soup. They offer a wide variety of options, including the Ramen (700 JPY) that has a rich yet refreshing soy sauce-flavored tonkotsu soup, the Marucho Ramen (780 JPY) with a double soup that has bonito oil added to it to boost its flavor, and the Butashio Ramen (700 JPY) that has a salty tonkotsu soup. You will probably find it hard to decide what to eat! Another recommendation is the Otoku na Set (great-value set) (prices start at 900 JPY) that comes with gyoza (pot sticker) and chahan (fried rice).
Kotetsu is a popular public tavern whose specialty is taki-gyoza (dumplings cooked in soup). If you visit, make sure to try the Shime-men (noodles eaten as the last dish of the night) (300 JPY (excl. tax)), which is put into the remaining Taki-gyoza (prices start at 880 JPY (excl. tax)) soup. The shop’s taki-gyoza is made by simmering the gyoza in cloudy chicken soup – full of the deliciousness extracted from chicken bones – for more than half a day. You can choose between the “shirotaki” – which adds Japanese-style soup stock to the broth, creating a rich soup that leaves a refreshing aftertaste – and the “akataki” that has an invigorating spiciness to it. However, note that the shirotaki fits the shime-men better. Through the Shime-men, you’ll get to taste the deep and delicious flavor of the pork that spilled out of the gyoza in ramen form! English, Chinese (traditional and simplified), and Korean menus are available. This shop also has English-speaking staff.
7. TETSU Hankyu Sanbangai Shop
Originating from Tokyo, you can try this famous shop – said to have sparked the tsukemen boom – in Osaka. Savor its special soup, which fuses flavorful fish broth with another broth made from chicken bones and pork knuckles that were boiled for two days. This shop uses its original noodles, which are made by blending udon (thick noodles) flour and bread flour together. The noodles are chewy, with a flavor that isn’t overshadowed by the flavorsome soup. This store even has a yaki-ishi (heated stone) for anyone who wants to reheat their cold soup! The tsukemen here costs 800 JPY (incl. tax)).
8. Tenyou Nakazaki-cho Shop
This shop has a special soup that takes a good while to make. It is created by adding a secret sauce to a rich broth – made by slow-cooking pig’s head, chicken feet, pork ribs, vegetables, and other ingredients for 10 hours – which results in a unique soup that you won’t be able to find elsewhere. It tastes even better with some garlic! Aside from the shop’s ramen (prices start at 750 JPY (incl. tax)), the 100-hour Curry Rice (800 JPY (incl. tax)) – which is literally cooked for 100 hours – is also highly recommended!
9. Ramen Kikuhan
Enjoy creamy and flavorful ramen here! The most popular dish here is the Toriton Shoyu (750 JPY (incl. tax)). Its soup – full of chicken and pork bone extract – has just the right concentration of flavor, so you’ll surely slurp up every last drop. The surface of the ramen is bubbly, so when you mix the noodles with the soup and eat it, you’ll experience a unique texture. The shop has a wide variety of dishes available, such as Tantan-men (prices start at 820 JPY (incl. tax)) – in which homemade sesame paste and chili oil are added to a chicken and pork bone broth, the Ramen (prices start at 750 JPY (incl. tax)) that has a light Japanese-style double soup combining chicken and pork bone broth with seafood broth, and several limited-time dishes.
10. Menya Roran
Located within the 1st – 4th buildings in front of Osaka Station – the ramen battleground of Osaka – is Menya Roran, an especially famous ramen shop. Most people come for the double soup, which combines a seafood broth of dried sardine, tobiuo (flying fish), and kombu (kelp) extracts with a broth made from pork bones, chicken bones, and a whole chicken. Ramen and tsukemen are on the menu, but it’s recommended to grab the mellow-tasting Yuzushio Ramen (citrus and salt ramen) (750 JPY). Not only does it use three types of sun-dried salt, but it is also topped with spinach and yuba (tofu skin). You won’t be able to get enough of the refreshing yuzu (Japanese citrus) aroma! They have a long lineup of ramen flavors available, such as shoyu (soy sauce), miso, and karamiso (spicy miso).
Each shop pays particular attention to different factors, such as the soup or noodles, so it’s worth tasting and comparing all of them!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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