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【Kansai】Five New Paitan Ramen Shops Highly Recommended by Four Ramen Bloggers

Toyotsune, Kuroboshi, Good, and Ma-chin are ramen bloggers who are always checking out new ramen shops. The "Group of Four New Ramen Shop Hunters" have hand-picked ramen shops that they strongly recommend for 2018. Below are five shops that serve paitan ramen! <The information is from Ramen Walker Kansai 2018 (issued on October 6, 2017)>

The Natural Sweetness and Umami of Chicken Concentrated in a Viscous Soup

Ramen Aoyama is owned by Aoyama – a famous blogger in the Kansai area who used to eat more than 300 bowls of ramen per year. Visiting all of the popular ramen restaurants eventually led him to want to open up his own ramen restaurant. Around that time, he got hooked on the popular ramen shop, Menya Chakuriki, in Tango, Kyoto. He visited the restaurant while on a trip for his other hobby, fishing, and ended up becoming an apprentice there! He trained at Menya Chakuriki for about three years, and opened his own restaurant in his hometown, Kuzuha, on March 31, 2017. His restaurant is popular for its fantastic flavors that have impressed even his demanding fellow bloggers. The menu and services that capture the hearts of ramen lovers, such as onigiri (rice balls) made with ramen soup, are the reasons for the popularity. Many people greatly anticipate its future development.

This is the Chicken Paitan (800 JPY). Distinguished by a paitan soup, which is made by simmering free-range Tamba chicken bones, the whole chicken, chicken feet, chicken wings, and chicken meat for approximately eight hours. The natural sweetness and umami of chicken are concentrated in the soup, which goes well with the smooth noodles.

■Ramen Data
<Noodles> Medium thick, handmade, straight / Producer: Mineya Seimen, 140g
<Soup> Sauce = soy sauce; finishing oil = chicken oil / Richness: Rich ○○●○○ Light / Type: Chicken bone, whole chicken, etc.

<Blogger Comments>
"It has a deep and rich finish. The refined umami from the chicken gradually spreads throughout your mouth. It is the ideal ramen developed through the senses of the owner, who used to be a serious ramen aficionado." (Toyotsune)

"It is an outstanding dish that came from an ex-blogger, who has a customer’s perspective. It shows just how high the owner’s standard level of ramen is." (Ma-chin)

■Ramen Aoyama
<Address: Chateau Higashi 1F, 1-6-10 Minami Kuzuha, Hirakata-shi, Osaka; Phone: 072-851-6780; Hours: 11:30 am - 3:00 pm (L.O. 2:30 pm), 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 9:30 pm), Saturday and Sunday 11:30 am - 4:00 pm *Closes when supplies run out; Closed: Wednesday, third Thursday of the month; Capacity: 18 (10 seats at the counter, 8 at tables); Smoking: No; Parking: 2 spots (free); Access: 10 minutes on foot from Keihan Kuzuha Station>

Ramen Aoyama

Chateau Higashi 1F, 1-6-10 Minami Kuzuha, Hirakata-shi, Osaka

Chicken Paitan Noodles Made with Knowledge and Experience from a Popular Restaurant

MENYA BIBIRI is the second branch of Menya NOROMA, which ignited a chicken paitan boom in Nara. The name comes from the owner's desire to have a "restaurant that is clean, safe, and comfortable. It must be so good that it will make customers feel ‘bibiri’ (jittery)". There are many fans of this restaurant, which aims to provide the finest taste and hospitality. The stock – made by simmering a whole chicken from Kagoshima Prefecture – has a slightly stronger taste than the main store. It is made into a soup that is unique to BIBIRI by adding Japanese-style dashi (stock). The outstanding dish that you cannot even have at the popular main store is definitely worth trying.

This is their Special Seafood Chicken Noodles (Soy Sauce) (980 JPY). The soup – made by bringing out the chicken's umami by simmering it at a high temperature, and then adding seafood dashi – has a soft, rounded flavor. The umami of the soft and juicy rare char siu are locked in through a proprietary technique.

■Ramen Data
<Noodles>Medium thick, handmade, straight / Producer: Homemade, 120g
<Soup>Sauce = soy sauce, finishing oil = niboshi dried sardine oil / Richness: Rich○○●○○Light / Type: Chicken + Dashi

<Blogger Comments>
"As the second branch of one of Nara Prefecture's most popular restaurants, it pursues flavors equaling those of the main restaurant. It is so popular that there are lines out the door!" (Kuroboshi)

"Its quality is worthy of the second branch of NOROMA, a restaurant that is famous around the country. Needless to say, the paitan is at an extremely high level." (Ma-chin)

■MENYA BIBIRI
<Address: 165-1 Shichijo-cho, Nara-shi, Nara; Phone: 0742-31-4999; Hours: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm (L.O. 2:55 pm), 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 9:55 pm); Closed: Last day of the month; Capacity: 30 seats (6 at the counter, 24 at tables); Smoking: No; Parking: 20 spaces (free); Access: 10 minutes on foot from Kintetsu Kujo Station>

MENYA BIBIRI

165-1 Shichijo-cho, Nara-shi, Nara

Red Chicken Paitan Soup by the Innovator of the Ramen World

POULET AMOUR is the latest restaurant by the owner, Kumagai, who won the No. 1 grand chef's prize on TV Champion, and owns ramen restaurants like Mentohito. An innovator, Kumagai has even created ramen with cotton candy on top in the past! This time, he is pursuing a combination of chicken paitan and red peppers. The spiciness that comes after the sweet paitan flavor is attractive.

This is the Special Soy Sauce Chicken Paitan (950 JPY). Red peppers have been added to chicken paitan, which was made by slow-cooking chicken bones. It goes perfectly with the smooth noodles, pork tendons, and char siu. The spiciness can be adjusted.

■Ramen Data
<Noodles>Medium thick, handmade, straight / Producer: Homemade, 140g
<Soup>Sauce = soy sauce, finishing oil = chicken oil / Richness: Rich ○○●○○Light / Type: Chicken paitan

<Blogger Comment>
"It has a rich flavor, with an aroma of soy sauce that stands out from the concentrated umami of the chicken." (Toyotsune)

■POULET AMOUR
<Address: 3F, 11-14, Doyama-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka; Phone: None; Hours: 6:30 pm - 4:30 am *Closes when supplies run out; Closed: Irregular; Capacity: 6 (counter seating only); Smoking: No; Parking: None; Access: 9 minutes on foot from Higashi-Umeda Station on the Tanimachi subway line>

POULET AMOUR

3F, 11-14, Doyama-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

A Highly Polished Chicken Paitan with Harmonious Umami and Salty Sauce Flavors

In pursuit of a unique chicken paitan, Menya Itto used research and ingenuity, and ultimately came up with a ramen that it now competes with. Its chicken paitan soup is the trendy foamy type. The deep flavor that lets the umami from the chicken shine through is popular among a wide range of customers. For the char siu topping, customers can select from rare chicken, pork ribs, and pork loin.

This is the Chicken Paitan Salt Ramen (750 JPY). The light flavor of the salty sauce and the deep umami from the chicken are in perfect harmony. It has a rounded finish, and is popular among a wide range of customers.

■Ramen Data
<Noodles>Medium thick, handmade, straight / Producer: Mineya Shokuhin, 120g
<Soup>Sauce = salt , finishing oil = none / Richness: Rich○○●○○Light / Type: Chicken

<Blogger Comment>
"The mellow finish has a light and refreshing flavor, so it can be appreciated by all." (Good)

■Menya Itto
<Address: 5-4-25, Nonaka, Fujiidera-shi, Osaka; Phone: 072-959-9637; Hours: 11:30 am - 3:00 pm (L.O.), 6:00 pm - 1:00 am (L.O.), Friday and Saturday 6:00 pm - 3:00 am, Sunday 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm; Closed: Tuesday; Capacity: 18 (8 at the counter, 10 at tables); Smoking: No; Parking: 4 spots (free); Access: 15 minutes on foot from Kintetsu Fujiidera Station>

Menya Itto

5-4-25, Nonaka, Fujiidera-shi, Osaka

Outstanding Soup with Deep Flavors from Free Range Chicken from Kyoto and Hakata

Okamoto Shoten is a ramen shop renowned for its fabulous rich soup, which is made by simmering two types of free-range chickens and pot herbs over a long period of time. The prices are reasonable, even though free-range chicken is abundantly used and a boiled egg comes with each dish. In addition, extra negi (scallions), as well as bits of eggs and char siu trimmings, are offered as free toppings, making everyone from students to business people very happy.

This is the Chicken Simmered Ramen (750 JPY). It is distinguished by a rich taste that’s achieved by simmering Kyoto Red free-range chicken and Hakata free-range chicken at a high heat for a long period of time, which brings out the umami. A choice of flame-grilled or rare vacuum-cooked char siu are available.

■Ramen Data
<Noodles>Medium thick, square cut, straight / Producer: Homemade, 140g
<Soup>Sauce = soy sauce, finishing oil = chicken oil / Richness: Rich○●○○○Light / Type: Whole chicken

<Blogger Comment>
"This is a bowl that brings out the maximum umami from chicken. You get the impression that it is great value for money." (Ma-chin)

■Okamoto Shoten
<Address: Fair Stage Otemachi Bldg. B1, 2-1-22 Tani-machi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka; Phone: 06-6947-2622; Hours: 11:00 am - 11:00 pm (L.O.); Closed: Sunday; Capacity: 15 seats (counter only); Smoking: No; Parking: None; Access: 2 minutes on foot from Tenmanbashi Station on the Tanimachi subway line.>

Okamoto Shoten

Fair Stage Otemachi Bldg. B1, 2-1-22 Tani-machi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

Who are these Popular Bloggers?

Kuroboshi: "I don't have a good memory, so I write down all the details like as if it were a notebook" is the style of his popular blog, which has lots of photographs.

Ma-chin: Known for their blog that is detailed, yet makes one chuckle. Has a lot of information, such as side menu details.

Toyotsune: Has been blogging for 10 years. Has visited more than 3,500 restaurants, making him the top "hunter" of new restaurants.

Good: The youngest of the four. Often eats one meal after another, with a record of 80 bowls in a month! If he continues at his current pace, he will visit 620 restaurants this year.

[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 11.15.2017]

*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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