I am hungry again, so here's another food post.
Readers should know by now how obsessed Samurai T is over ramen and noodles of any kind. If he has nothing else to eat BUT ramen 3 meals a day for the rest of his life, he would not be complaining. Actually, I can understand where he is coming from, because thus far in Japan, we have eaten a lot of ramen from both small, unassuming eateries to larger chain restaurants and I have yet to taste bad ramen, just GOOD and SUPER GOOD ramen.
Kinryu Ramen - You can see the dragon a mile away
(Just walk down Dotonbori Street - you cannot miss it.)
Although we have eaten quite a lot of ramen, because I wasn't expecting to start this blog, I did not pay much attention to the shop names nor the locations of these places - afterall they are EVERYWHERE and we are always game to try new places. Thankfully, a couple of restaurants did register sufficiently in my consciousness, and one of them is Kinryu Ramen in Osaka.
During our first night of exploration of Dotonbori, Samurai T was immediately attracted to the packed eatery with its bright red, open concept structure housing a gigantic green dragon on its roof. Kinryu, which stands for "Golden Dragon" supposedly serves Kyushu-style tonkatsu (pork) broth ramen and is another well-known landmark along Dotonbori. "We have got to eat here," he proclaimed, but since we were supposed to eat kani (crab) that night, Kinryu was slated for another day.
Open concept eatery - only one cook at 9am in the morning
In the end, we had it for breakfast on the third morning of our Osaka stay. Shockingly, Kinryu is open 24hours a day, and while Dotonbori was surprisingly quiet and peaceful at 9am in the morning, we could smell the delicious broth in the air as we approach the eatery with growling stomachs. Only one lady staff was manning the stall that morning, but since there was hardly any customers and it was self-service anyway one staff seemed sufficient.
Like a number of economical restaurants, we had to pay for our ramen via a vending machine right in front of the eatery. There were only 2 choices - standard ramen (600 Yen), and another with more pork slices (700 - 900 Yen I think). I am sure you can guess that my darling Samurai ordered a more substantial portion for himself. Then we handed our order tickets to the staff and clambered onto their signature tatami-mat platforms surrounding the open air kitchen and waited for our ramen.
Samurai T and his piping hot bowl of delicious ramen (with added pork of course)
The brilliant thing about Kinryu was the UNLIMITED kimchi (yep!) and garlic that you can add on to your bowl of ramen (self-service of course), and you can help yourself to ice water, which is free too. Nonetheless, the highlight was the out-of-this-world broth which was so thick and savoury and fragrant. Samurai T slurped his bowl dry, I believe. The ramen was springy and the pork, though not the most tender and melt-in-your-mouth I have eaten, was more than good enough. The house kimchi was delicious and added a special taste to the ramen.
It was also a marvellous experience eating while sitting outdoor on tatami mats. Bear in mind it was autumn and there was a chill wind in the morning (which might have explained the lack of customers). But even against the biting cold, the hot broth brought such a warmth to our bellies that we felt entirely happy and satisfied. In fact, I think the cold made the ramen taste even better.
Even with so many untried ramen options, in view of its superb food and affordability I would most certainly patronise Kinryu Ramen again.