ラーメンさんぱち Ramen Sanpachi

I was in Ochanomizu in early January when I had a sudden craving for a hot bowl of ramen. I had a look on Ramen Database and found Sanpachi. Apparently it’s a chain from Hokkaido. There are quite a few shops in Sapporo, but only ten or so outside of Hokkaido. It was mid-afternoon on a Wednesday when I visited the shop. It was empty when I arrived apart from the middle-aged woman who was running the place. The walls were decorated with autographed pictures of female professional wrestlers, and 70s J-pop played over the speakers. This place had a real Showa Era atmosphere. I liked it.

01 Exterior

This is a chain from Hokkaido, so the specialty is miso ramen. My order came topped with bean sprouts, green onions, kamaboko (a kind of steamed fish cake), menma (fermented bamboo shoots), minced pork, and one soft slice of pork loin. This was listed as the most popular (ninki number one) on the ticket machine.

03 Miso Ramen

The soup was a little thinner than your typical miso broth. It had a fair bit of oil which kept it hot. It really warmed me up on a cool winter day.

04 Soup

It came with a decent portion of wavy, slightly soft, Sapporo-style noodles. Nothing special about them, but they were satisfying.

05 Noodles

Sanpachi is worth checking out for the nostalgic 70s atmosphere of the shop. I really wish I had taken a few photos of the interior, but a couple of salarymen arrived just after me which made it hard to discretely photograph the place.

Score: 7.5/10

Location: About 10 minutes on foot from Ochanomizu Station

Address: 東京都文京区湯島1丁目11-13

Price: ¥750

Seating: Counter only — maybe 12 seats

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前田慶次郎 Maeda Keijirou

I always like to try local ramen whenever I travel. We were in Kanazawa over the New Year break but it seemed that most places were closed for the holiday period. Luckily, we found this place in the Katamachi area. It was a cold night in late December, so we were both looking forward to a bowl of ramen to warm us up.

01 Shop

The shop is quite small – only a counter with eight seats, four of which were occupied when we arrived. The guy who runs the place didn’t seem particularly friendly, but the atmosphere of the shop was good.

03 Interior  02 Interior

I ordered Keijirou ramen, which has a tonkotsu shoyu base. Omori was available for ¥110, but I decided against it as the regular portion looked quite large. The master offered garlic, which I accepted. The amount of garlic was huge. I later heard other customers asking for half a serving of garlic. If I had known that was an option, I would’ve requested it – I could still taste and smell garlic 3 hours later when I was getting ready for bed.

05 Ramen

The portion was huge. It came topped with two thick slices of pork, cabbage, chopped onions, green onions, a mountain of bean sprouts and at least three cloves of minced garlic.

06 Soup

The soup was a nice brown colour with a lot of flavour and a light amount of oil to keep it hot on a cold night.

08 Noodles

The noodles were thick and chewy. I didn’t order omori (extra noodles), but the portion was huge. I can’t imagine how someone could eat more. But I heard other customers ordering omori.

07 Pork

The pork was excellent – thick, soft and smoky. And it came with two slices.

This is a good shop. It’s small, but seems to get a lot of regular customers. The portion was huge and very filling. It really hit the spot on a cold December night in Kanazawa. If I went back, I’d get less garlic. But apart from that, it was great.

Score: 8/10

Location: Near Kohrinbo 109

Address: 石川県金沢市片町2-7-1 羽岡ビル1F

Price: ¥800; ¥110 for extra noodles

Seating: eight counter seats