Mr. Selfish and I remember the days when we were ramen newbies and could genuinely enjoy most ramen bowls. Those days are long gone, and we’re now ramen snobs. It was bound to happen. If you keep eating something over and over again, you start to develop a palate for it. Unfortunately, once this happens, your discerning palate knows when a ramen bowl isn’t up to snuff.
So when we decided to come back to Fukuoka for a couple of nights, we knew that we had to do a ramen run. Fukuoka is, after all, where tonkotsu ramen originated.
Shin Shin: Good Broth but a Little Fatty on the Pork
Mr. Selfish and I had added Shin Shin to our Google map during our first trip to Fukuoka back in April. We didn’t make it there but had read from many sources that it had some of the best ramen in Fukuoka. We made sure to go to Shin Shin this time around.
We ordered the standard ramen for 550 yen, plus an order of gyoza.
The ramen broth was flavorful and complex, and the noodles were pretty well done. I also liked that there were tons of thinly sliced green onions. However, the pork was a little too fatty for us. The gyoza were nice and crispy with good flavor. Finally, the atmosphere was pretty chill and laid back at Shin Shin, which also made for an enjoyable ramen experience. To boot, it was, by far, the cheapest ramen we had in Fukuoka at 550 yen a bowl.
Chiba in Ramen Stadium: Broth was Too Light
Right next to the Grand Hyatt in Fukuoka is the Canal City mall. Amazingly, on the fifth floor of the mall is Ramen Stadium, in which there are eight different ramen restaurants. On our last day in Fukuoka, Mr. Selfish and I trekked over to Ramen Stadium with our hearts set on trying at least two different ramen places.
After browsing for a bit, we settled on Chiba and Tontoro because they looked different than the ramen we had been trying. At Chiba, we ordered the “Pork and Eggs Ramen” for 700 yen.
Although the broth was pretty light, I found the pork to be particularly tasty. It was a different cut from the other chashu we’ve tasted and had more of a bacon-y consistency to it. However, the green onions were cut a little large for my liking.
While the ramen was generally enjoyable, I have to have a complex broth in my ramen. For this reason, Chiba ranked pretty low on the ramen run.
Tontoro in Ramen Stadium: Lots of Extra Good Stuff
After finishing our bowl at Chiba, we walked the 15 feet over to Tontoro in Ramen Stadium. We ordered a “Popular” bowl of the “Pork Broth Ramen + Boiled Egg” for 750 yen.
This ramen had a very different broth – although it was still salty and fatty in a good way. The meat was also distinct and seemed like it had been slowed cooked (similar to carnitas) in some kind of soy marinade. There were also bits of fried onions, seafood, tons of sesame seeds, and thin green onions (the way I like them). Plus, the eggs were perfectly soft boiled.
All in all, it was a different bowl of ramen and absolutely delicious!
Ichiran: Back Again for the Good Stuff
Lastly, we had to eat at Ichiran in Canal City mall again. This time, we noticed that it was right next to a Go-Go Curry, which wasn’t there previously and is another one of Mr. Selfish’s favorite Japanese chains. It was hard for Mr. Selfish but we refrained from going to both Ichiran and Go-Go Curry.
Once again, the noodles were nice and firm, the broth was flavorful, the egg was perfectly cooked, and the pork was tender and delicious. Mmmmmmm…Ichiran. You never fail me.
It was a successful ramen run. Out of the four ramen places we tried, I will remember Tontoro at Ramen Stadium and, of course, my old favorite, Ichiran the most. Although very different from one another, they both had complex broths, delicious pork, and a perfectly cooked egg.