Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tonkotsu Ramen: Yamabiko

I am not a big fan of cold weather....unless I am playing in some beautiful, fluffy snow. BUT, I do like that cold weather means RAMEN SEASON! Not that you can't eat ramen any other time of the year. There is nothing like a nice, hot bowl of ramen on a cold wintry day though. Well, except maybe a nice, hot bowl of udon. I'm a big fan of both!

So, I have passed this place many times and have been wanting to try it, but I just never did. Until last week! I went for lunch and it was pretty tasty so I went back with my camera for dinner less than a week later.

They have an English menu!! I didn't see it when I went for lunch, but I think it's because I spoke Japanese when I walked in. When I went back for dinner, I didn't say anything and they brought over an English menu. Yay! Of course I took a picture of it!!


I think the menu is pretty self explanatory, but I do want to let you know that the "special pork ramen" is just thicker sliced pork pieces. The "pirikara-men" is a slightly spicy ramen. Haha! I just realized that it looks like "spicy men"....kind of. I'm very easily distracted... and apparently, very easily amused. The "goma dango" is a very yummy fried mochi ball covered in sesame seeds, with sweet bean inside. Mmmmm!! One of my favorites!!!

I went with a couple of friends so we each ordered a bowl of ramen and then we got one order of the fried rice, and the gyoza to share. Their fried rice and their gyoza was pretty tasty. I still prefer the gyoza at Nagahama Ramen (I blogged about this yummy place already), but the ramen here is pretty tasty. The soup and the noodles are definitely different from the other ramen places I have blogged about.

Here are some pictures of the yummy food -

Yummy fried rice!!


And now for the most important dish.....

Doesn't that look good???? If you don't like green onions or the pork, you can order it without it.

If you go during lunch, they offer a lunch special for 900yen. You get a bowl of ramen, one rice ball, two pieces of gyoza, and two pieces of fried chicken. I believe they do a similar set for dinner, but it doesn't start until 6pm. I will also warn you that the fried chicken is typical Japanese fried chicken. With the skin and the fat. I pulled mine apart and just ate the meat. I do suggest pulling it apart and not just biting into it or else you might get a fatty surprise. It's not very pleasant.

Ramen is going to taste different at each restaurant. There are different types of soups and different types of noodles, and each place typically has their own special recipe for the soup. Yamabiko is a tonkotsu style soup so it is pork based. I thought the soup was very good and light on flavor. There are condiments on the table you can add to your rament to boost the flavor or spiciness if you want. So while I really did like the ramen here, you might not like it as much as Nagahama or some other rament place you've been to in the past. This is why I think it's a great idea to try them all! I have blogged about two other places in this area that you can try out.

To get to Yamabiko Ramen, go out the Main Gate and go straight. You want to go to three corners (just go straight until the road comes to a T intersection....this is known as "three corners") and turn right. Continue on this road until it kind of comes to Route 2 (it will be the intersection after you go over some railroad tracks). Turn left here and you will see Mos Burger on your left and McDonald's on your right. Keep going straight. When you see a men's clothing store on your left, you should look on the right for the restaurant. I got there too late to get any photos of the outside from a distance (really bad traffic and too dark), but I did take a picture of what you might see when approaching the restaurant from this direction.

Look for this sign on the right and this is where you will turn. There used to be a guitar shop behind Yamabiko. Even though it is closed, they never took the sign down and this is what I used as my landmark when I first spotted this restaurant.

I did get one shot of the inside too...

They do have quite a bit of parking in the back so that shouldn't be an issue.

The next time you're in the mood for some ramen, give Yamabiko a try and let me know what you think!