Mataichi ramen counter looks like it belong in Tokyo or Fukuoka, but it’s actually located right in front of Kurashiki station.
Ramen counters are uncommon in Kurashiki and I still wonder why I waited so long before paying a visit to this Kurashiki institution.
There is only ramen and beer on the menu, so ordering is pretty simple.
The kitchen is a tiny nook against a stone wall, pretty much just enough space for the soup pot and the boiling water. The two guys behind the counter must have been working together for a long time since they didn’t waste a single gesture, a perfect ramen making ballet.
I also ordered horumon which seem to be a special item on their menu. Offals and ramen, why not?
I was handed a nice bowl of shoyu ramen and they pointed out two garnishes. The first one was a garlicky hot sauce and the second one a super spicy kimchi. He warned me: this is spicy!
The shoyu ramen was tasty with a very simple chicken based soup. Not overly salty with nice noodles. It’s a very balanced bowl and the lighter soup is perfect when you add some hot sauce and kimchi.
The horumon came next and I still can’t believe how soft and tasty they were. If you have only two dishes on your menu, they better be good and it’s obvious that these two guys know what they are doing.
If you are looking for a pre drink meal, go to Mataichi and let them take care of you. The shop gets really busy after 9PM.
In my mind the pairing of horumon and ramen is like the poutine and hot dog served back home in Montreal, a perfect pairing which is less than healthy, but oh so delicious!
So the next time you are at Kurashiki station, take a left, walk by the Tenmaya, cross the street and Mataichi will be right there waiting for you.