Sapporo miso ramen shop Menya Saimi (麺屋 彩未) is beyond famous. Many think Saimi serves the best miso ramen in Japan. Here's what I think.
Menya Saimi - A Brief History
Located in snowy Sapporo (miso ramen country), Menya Saimi has been serving hungry customers since 1993. Before this, Saimi's owner trained at miso ramen heavyweight Sumire.
Echoing what I said before, some believe that the student (Saimi) surpassed the master (Sumire). In other words, Menya Saimi represents the pinnacle of miso ramen.
Saimi's Ramen Symphony
Expectedly, Saimi follows the Sumire miso ramen playbook to a great degree:
Bold Miso Base
Rich Soup with a thick layer of clear Pork Lard
Big, Wavy noodles
Wok stir-fried vegetables
But there's something extra special about Saimi's rendition. Just like at Sumire, they still serve a heavy hitting bowl. The miso charged soup has strong garlic notes and is rich from chicken and pork bones. However, there's this additional finesse.
It so carefully fluctuates between being heavy and refined. The stir-fried bean sprouts are particularly smoky and crunchy. They're the best I've ever had in miso ramen. From the kitchen you can hear the wok clanging away to get them this way.
The bamboo shoots (menma), spring onions (negi) and pork chashu are all excellent. Visually noticeable among toppings is the bright yellow dollop of ginger. This ginger is shipped from Kochi (the other side of Japan) and is of the highest quality.
It electrifies the soup and provides some respite from the hearty flavors. Lastly, the thick, wavy Sapporo style noodles are as springy as they should be. You get 140 grams of them with the ramen.
The Sapporo Miso Ramen King
Saimi serves shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt) and spicy miso ramen. But there's a reason that miso ramen is the first thing you see on the menu.
Inside, the walls are adorned with signatures from famous people. Again, this place might be the ultimate miso ramen destination in all of Japan.
Saimi even has an official instant ramen. In the soup the ginger's still there in full force (incorporated into it).
In conclusion, Menya Saimi reigns supreme in Sapporo. They may not have been the first one to make miso ramen. But they have certainly taken it to the next level.