This is the last day of Ogawaya ramen week (actually, this review is 2 days late. Sorry…had a busy weekend), and I’m a bit sad. But, I’m also a bit glad…you try to come up with 5 different and interesting ways to describe the same noodles! I also want to give a shoutout to rameniac for his timely and wildly informative “field guide” to 22 (yes, 22!) popular ramen styles in Japan. If you want to read up on the background behind the hakata and kurume ramen I’ve been talking about for the past week, this is a great resource.

Every once in a while, events fall into place that makes you think of fate; even though I chose this week’s ramen in random order, it turned out I was actually eating them in order: each day’s was progressively better, and today’s ramen was the best of the bunch.

The distinctly bold black package gives a hint of what was to come. This kurume (ichiban!) tonkotsu shoyu ramen had a rich…well, a rich tonkotsu shoyu soup base. But more on that in a second. I managed to overcook the noodles both times, which may have contributed to them being just slightly soft. (The first time, I got into a strainer battle with my wife, who was cooking her dinner at the same time. I lost, of course. And the second time, I was too busy daydreaming about the first bowl of ramen I just ate that I completely lost track of time. Sigh.) I don’t really need to get into the noodles in detail anyway. You already read about them here, here, here, and/or here.

Now the soup…yes, the soup…ah…the soup had a delicate, light shoyu aroma. It was bold! It was beautiful! The shoyu was deep, but didn’t overwhelm the lighter tonkotsu flavor. The tonkotsu provided a excellent partner to the shoyu, giving it a more complex and rich flavor that lingers in the back of your throat. The ramen was so good it was gone literally before I realized what happened! I searched the bowl feverishly for the hole in the bottom that I knew had to be there before giving up, then ran to the kitchen to cook up the second batch.

Though this refrigerated ramen would put some of the ramen houses I’ve been to to shame, I can’t give it a 10. I’m still too much of an optimist. This ramen was excellent, but my head didn’t quite spin all the way around. Until I find that “perfect” packaged ramen, I have to say this is the best one so far, and I’m happy to give it a 9!

8 thoughts on “ramen rating: kurume ichiban tonkotsu shoyu”

  1. Okay now you’ve made me want to go buy and try all of them especially this last one since you gave it a 9!! Is Marukai still having the sale?

  2. I *think* it’s until the end of the month. And they don’t usually carry these ramen so supplies may be limited. Act now! (Oh, and I should mention that Marukai is a membership store. I know they used to have 1-day passes you can get but I’m not sure if that’s still the case. You might wanna give them a call first.)

  3. main man: i got this at a local japanese supermarket, and unfortunately, it was a “regional special” they were having and they’re not selling it any more. if i see it anywhere again, i’ll let you know!

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