The birthplace of Tonkotsu Ramen!

We were fortunate to be back in Kurume for a couple of nights. Close to the top of our list of food experiences was Kurume’s Tonkotsu ramen. Kurume is the birthplace of Tonkotsu Ramen, it emerged around 1940. Kurume is in Fukuoka Prefecture and its takes about 40 minutes to get there by train from Fukuoka’s Tenjin station . The feature of Kurume ramen is its thick pork broth flavoured with salt and light soy.

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Kurume Taiho entrance

It was around 1pm on this cloudy day, just the right signs for sitting back and slurping a bowl of noodles in a rich steaming broth. We were on our way to Kurume Taiho, Fukuoka’s most well known ramen shop. The locals swear by this shop and people travel from afar just to enjoy a delicious bowl of ramen. Earlier in the day I asked five locals about their favourite ramen shop, not one hesitated to declare Kurume Taiho as their favourite. How often do you get a full consensus on a restaurant.

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Kurume Taiho kitchen

We arrive with a good appetite, from the outside the shop looks more like a nice Ryokan but as you get closer the pork aromas remind you that this is a serious ramen restaurant. As we walked in I was immediately impressed by the sense of order in the kitchen, peaceful customers guarding their bowls and enormous pots with wooden lids. As soon as we take our seats we receive a jug of cold green tea, a special feature provided by this place.

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Original Ramen (Y 550)

I was captivated by the chef’s movements, he would often move from pot to pot stirring the contents with a large steel bar shaped like a ladle. He would stop to toss and drain noodles before dropping them in the bowls. He was fast but harmonious, he was a master of his craft and a joy to watch. There are nine choices on the menu – Original Ramen (Y 550), Mukashi Ramen with pork crackling (Y 550),  Wongton-men (Y 650), Nori-Negi Ramen (Y 550), Komai Ramen (Y 450), Iki-Ramen (Y 450), Mukashi-chashu Ramen (Y 720), Mukashi-Wongton Ramen (Y 680), Kuro Tonkotsu Ramen (Y 570). For 50 Yen you can order extra shallots, seaweed and sprouts. If you slurp your noodles too fast call out for Kaedama (extra noodles).

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Chu-ou Kouen ( a beautiful park opposite Kurume Taiho, perfect for a leisurely walk after your meal)

We order two Original Ramens, the tonkotsu broth is rich and creamy, what ramen aficionados describe as a classic ramen taste. They use straight thin noodles, topped with chashu , kikurage mushroom, nori, spring onion and shinachiku. The locals like to top it with extra ginger and sesame seeds. So I do what the locals do and become engulfed in the aromas from the bowl, soon I was also peacefully guarding my ramen bowl and getting ready to say suimasen (excuse me)Kaedama kudasai (please)!

Kurume Taiho
11-8 Tōrihokamachi, Kurume-shi, Fukuoka-ken 830-0005, Japan

Hours: 11am to midnight

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