Ever since watching anime in middle school, it’s been a small life goal of mine to eat ramen noodles in a street vendor’s stall in Japan. Although I’ve lived here for nearly two years and had countless bowls of noodles, somehow I’ve missed having this experience… until two days ago. While in Fukuoka city last Friday, Lori was awesome enough to treat me to dinner at one of the stalls that line the river near Canal City shopping mall. The broth was salty and noodles hot. We also enjoyed some of the simmering “oden.” I got seconds of noodles (called “kaidama”) and we both were thoroughly satisfied by the experience. Life goal: complete!
It’s really impressive to see the stalls being assembled in late evening. They are all free standing and somehow manage a full kitchen and seating for 8 plus within an area roughly as large as a VW Bus. The cooks know their trade and usually have a lot of personality. With over 30 stalls, the area we dined in Hakata is famous in Japan. Interestingly, each region of Japan specializes in a different type of ramen. Consisting of rich broth and thin noodles, Hakata’s specialty is “tonkotsu” (pork-bone) ramen.
After noodles we enjoyed trying an interesting “sakura latte” at a local coffee shop. It was oddly sweet, but not bad, and tasted as you’d expect of an imitation cherry blossom hot drink would.