Miyazaki Ramen. While tasty tonkotsu is most common, the ramen in Miyazaki is surprisingly varied. From garlicky red hot ramen to lighter tonkotsu, here are four must visit ramen shops in Miyazaki City.
#1 Eiyouken (栄養軒)
Ramen shops ending with “ken” tend to have a long history. Eiyouken is no different. They’ve been dishing out delicious tonkotsu ramen since 1964. It’s closest to what a Miyazaki tonkotsu ramen looks like.
The broth utilizes charred pork lard. It’s therefore buttery, but with a slight fish and usui soy sauce aftertaste. It’s not as heavy as Fukuoka or Kurume tonkotsu ramen.
Also unlike Fukuoka tonkotsu, the noodles are thicker. Furthermore, little bean sprouts work well for crunch and don’t dilute the broth like bigger bean sprouts do.
This part of the country likes their food sweet. The sweet-flavored chashu pork slices are fittingly like a fatty dessert.
#2 Karamenya Matsumoto (辛麺屋 桝元 宮崎中央店)
“Karamen” is a spicy ramen native to Miyazaki. Restaurant chain Matsumoto is credited with creating it and they have shops all over Miyazaki serving it.
Choose spice level from level 1-30. The shade of red will change dramatically in the teens. But even past level 15 it’s not insanely hot. Not as hot as say, Nakamoto.
The broth here is soy sauce, raiyu chili oil, tougarashi chili peppers, and plenty of garlic. Nira chives and fluffy egg make for nice toppings.
The noodles deserve some attention. They’re nicknamed “konnyaku” (konjac yam) noodles because of their rubbery texture and translucent look. But they’re actually a blend of soba and wheat flour.
Due to this, Matsumoto markets their karamen as healthy. But I think the jury is still out on this claim.
#3 Ramen Man (ラーメンマン)
Like their name would suggest, Ramen Man serves heavy, brawny ramen. They have assari (light) ramen too, but everyone orders kotteri (heavy). Ramen Man goes through 200 kilos of pork bones a day…and this shows in the ramen.
In addition to pork bones, the thick and rich broth is kelp, niboshi fish, veggies and shrimp soy sauce. These ingredients are all sourced locally. The broth is like a meaty Thanksgiving gravy with a soy sauce electric current.
A bit of spicy red sauce in the middle of the bowl and spicy takana (mustard seeds) on the side help cut through the richness.
The fatty pork belly toppings are cooked in the broth and then in soy sauce for 3 hours on low heat. After you’ve done, you might want to hail a cab.
#4 Satoimo (さといも)
Satoimo is classic Miyazaki tonkotsu ramen, like entry #1 Eiyouken (the owners used to work there). The same buttery goodness is there in the broth. But it’s more subdued. The soy sauce seasoning also comes out a bit more here.
Much like Eiyouken, the most fun part at Satoimo might be the interior. A photo taken there 40 years ago won’t look that different from a photo taken today. The only difference would be the smartphones on the tables.
Lastly, there’s a giant jar of garlic every few seats. It’s there for a reason! Satoimo was actually the last ramen bowl during my Miyazaki trip. I’m glad it was.
To conclude, Miyazaki has quality ramen shops to match a lesser-known, but stellar ramen history.