I’ve driven in front of Juu Hachi Ban ramen shop for 3 years before trying it. The shop is located on route 313 in the center of Fukuyama city. I found this shop listed pretty high up on a Japanese ramen website, so I decided to give it a go.
The exterior of the shop is pretty uninviting, it looks like some anonymous industrial building. Without a sign, I could mistake this odd looking building for pretty much anything.
On the inside, there is a long room with two counters running the whole length of the shop. I counted more than 50 stools but at 5 PM, I pretty much had the whole place for myself. The shop is obviously old, but very well kept despite being a bit drab.
The kitchen is very spacious and looks like it could feed a small army.
I ordered the regular ramen which is 550 ¥.
This is no ordinary kitchen! Every piece of equipment seem to belong to an industrial kitchen, the kind you see in an hospital cafeteria. The main soup pot looks big enough to take a bath inside and there is a secondary pot which is use to prepare dashi which is the size of a small children pool.
The noodle cooker might be the coolest and weirdest I have seen so far in Japan. It’s a mad contraption of multiple basket rotating around a central axis. On one side of the machine, there is a semi-circle boiling water section and on the other side, there is an automated cooked noodle dumping section with it’s own carousel of bowl waiting.
The idea is actually really cool. The shop seem to have home made noodles and like most noodles, they require a very specific cooking time. So I guess that once this machine is calibrated, it produces always the same result. This would not work for hakata style noodles, but for this type of ramen, it’s pure genius!
The regular bowl of shoyu ramen is pretty simple: sliced pork, bamboo shoots and green onion. The green onions were a bit dried up, but still tasted good. The pork was nice, but certainly not the tastiest I had in Japan.
The soup is pretty straight forward and on the saltier side. It’s a good bowl of shoyu ramen.
If you are a ramen geek, go to Juu Hachi Ban ramen and remember to sit right in front of the kitchen so you can look at the made noodle cooking contraption.
Juu Hachi Ban ramen is not too far from Fukuyama station, probably a 15 min walk. Give it a try!
Do you have a favorite ramen shop in Fukuyama?