Chashumen, in Yamagata
Passing through the town of Sakata, nestled in the shadow of Tohoku’s tallest volcano (Mount Chokai), I knew there was no way I’d be able to travel through the town without visiting my favourite ramen shop in the world.
When I moved to Japan four years ago, fate placed me in a five minute walk away from what I consider to be the best ramen in Japan. I’ve travelled the country and still never found anywhere that nails it quite as well as this.
I always order the same thing – soy sauce based Chashumen with extra pork (Chashumen literally means ramen with sliced pork). There are three things that make this ramen stand out over.
First off the soup is very thick and has a strong flavour; a mixture of fish, pork and soy blended together. It tastes so good, I’d argue it’s my favourite thing about the ramen and I usually finish off most of the soup in the bowl.
The second stand out feature of Shinzan’s ramen is the pork, with thicker than average cuts of pork, which taste very rich after being dipped into the soup.
And finally, the noodles are thicker than average, again, soaking up the soup and making them satisfying chewy.
As I said, I’ve travelled far and wide across Japan, and when I say this is the best ramen I’ve had, I’m trying to be objective as possible. To pass through Sakata without grabbing a bowl would be criminal.
Where: Menya Shinzan, 麺屋新三