Holland House is one of the top ramen shops in Saitama (North of Tokyo). People flock from all around to enjoy their ginger-powered ramen. But it's their ramen eggs that may be most famous!
Holland House - What’s in a Name?
It's not 100% clear why owner Yamamoto-san decided to go with "Holland House" (オランダ軒). But he has mentioned wanting customers to feel like they're stepping into another country. But you won't see any tulips or klompen inside his ramen shop.
Back in the day, Yamamoto-san was an avid snowboarder. The hobby brought him to snowy regions of Japan - including Niigata. It was in Niigata that a specific style of ramen called to him. It was...ginger shoyu (soy sauce) ramen from Nagaoka, Niigata.
This was the style he decided to build his house around.
Elevated Ginger Shoyu Ramen
His version is arguably more refined, and softer in flavor than what you normally get in Nagaoka, Niigata. Furthermore, the soy sauce base isn't as salty and the ginger sharpness isn't as prominent.
This doesn't mean the ginger flavor isn't there. Yamamoto-san just made sure that the high-quality ginger from Kochi is well blended into the soup. The soup is also chicken and pork bones, which give it just enough richness.
Ramen Egg Champion?
Holland House serves a pretty looking bowl, with the toppings working like icing on a cake. The seaweed, bamboo shoots, spinach, chashu pork, spring onions, and fish cake all make for great ones. He even cuts the pork slices for each individual order.
But the kingpin topping award goes to the ramen egg. They're not only soft-boiled to perfection, but are visually stunning. They grab your attention as soon as the bowl is placed in front of you.
Some customers order several eggs, lining up the bowl like numbers on a clock. So no matter what you do, make sure to order at least one egg (味玉).
Stepping Into Ramen Country
Two things to note. Firstly, this is a popular ramen shop. Do expect a line. In this sense, you will feel like you're entering another country (immigration line).
Secondly, the owner doesn’t allow any photos inside except of the ramen itself.
In conclusion, Holland House has taken a beloved Niigata ramen style and fine-tuned it in Saitama. The ramen shop is located over an hour from Tokyo on the train, with the closest closest station being Higashi-Iwatsuki.
But for many ramenheads, this is most necessary pilgrimage.