It was a winter night, and as I was slow with reading Japanese characters, I asked Shinji (my friend from Japan) to suggest a place where we could eat some delicious Japanese cuisine. He checked his mobile phone and showed me a ramen shop on the map which was right across from Yuzawa Station, and said that it was one of the best ramen restaurants he knew of. As it was snowing and cold, I was very quickly into the idea of having some hot ramen soup.
It was around 8 o’clock in the evening when we headed out to the restaurant from our apartment. As we reached the ramen shop, we were quite shocked to see the long queue of people standing outside the door to the restaurant, and had no choice but to wait for our turn in the queue as well. We were fascinated by the huge number of people coming and going from the station, especially those who were there like us to enjoy the snow. While we were waiting, we came to know that this ramen shop opens every day from 6 pm until midnight. With all the people queued up for their turn to eat, we imagined that it was a shop with tasty ramen!
After around fifteen to twenty minutes in line, we were able to have our turn in the shop. There was a wide variety of ramen available, with the names of the dishes all over the restaurant walls. All of us started making choices even before we took our seats! There were both Japanese style tables where we had to sit on tatami mats with our legs crossed, or Western style tables and chairs where four people could be accommodated on each table. We were a group of six people, so we went with the option of taking a traditional style table. As soon as we sat down, we were given menus and a complimentary dish. We were starving, therefore the complimentary dish really got us. It was fermented squid mixed with wakame (seaweed) and mushrooms, and it was really delicious! We came to know from my friend that this dish is commonly used as an appetite booster, said to enhance the taste of our ramen later.
We looked at every dish available in the menu and as I like spicy food, I wanted to try the spiciest ramen available in the restaurant. Unable to find one, I turned to my friend and asked him to suggest my best option. My friend turned the pages of the menu searching for what I had requested, and turned to a page which had pictures of very delicious looking shoyu, negi, miso and spicy ramen options. He suggested me to try the spiciest ramen available there. Following his instructions, I ordered the spicy ramen followed by some of my other friends. Another of my friends ordered the chashu ramen which consisted of 5 slices of chashu for only 1000 yen.
The ramen finally arrived and as soon as I tasted it, it blew my mind. It was one of the tastiest bowls of ramen I have encountered in Japan. I really liked the taste and use of the ingredients, and with the use of extra chili paste and garlic the taste could be enhanced according to one’s preferences. I really had a very tasty ramen that evening. Until this day, whenever I go to Yuzawa I never miss the opportunity to enjoy the spiciest ramen at this ramen shop.