Akanoren (赤のれん) is a leader in the tonkotsu ramen scene in Fukuoka. Their delicious ramen has excited locals since 1946.
Akanoren - The Story Behind the Name
Their official name is Ganso Akanoren Setchan Ramen (元祖 赤のれん 節ちゃんラーメン). Their 本店 (honten), or flagship shop, is located in Fukuoka City's bustling Tenjin district. "Aka" means red and "noren" is the curtain-like cloth above the door at a ramen shop.
Back in the day, nearby Kyushu University students noticed the red lightbulbs outside their shop and started calling it "Akanoren". This is how the story goes. The name apparently stuck.
Today, Akanoren is just as relevant as they were as a humble food stall in 1946.
High-Grade Tonkotsu Ramen
Pictured is the chashumen, which comes with 7 slices of juicy pork. They're fittingly fatty. The soup itself is boiled for 16+ hours. They boil almost every part of the pig - skin, back, trotters, and head. This understandably creates a porky delicious soup.
But the soy sauce seasoning also gives the soup a salty undertone and a light brown, latte-like color. A lot of tonkotsu ramen shops in Fukuoka use salt to season their soup. Not Akanoren. They use soy sauce from Shodoshima and it pierces through the broth.
Besides the slices of pork, there's a little pile of green negi (spring onions) and another pile of menma (bamboo shoots). Condiment-wise, there's benishouga (red pickled ginger), garlic, and pepper. These can be used to offset or complement the rich soup.
The noodles are so thin that they're thread-like. Furthermore, they're uniquely flat - this is their trademark.
I feature Akanoren in the video below.
Fukuoka Ramen Royalty
In Fukuoka, there's quite a bit of space inside in the shop. Not all seats are shown in the photo below. If you can't make it all the way to Fukuoka, they have a sister branch in Tokyo's Roppongi district.
I've been to this Tokyo branch many times - they were a 5 AM Ramen shop back in the day. The ramen in Tokyo is a little messier than in Fukuoka. Perhaps this is appropriate as Roppongi is one of Tokyo's biggest nightlife areas.
Shop Hours: 11 am ~ 10 pm (only closed on Tue)