When you think about food in Sapporo, Miso Ramen is definitely one of the first things that come to mind. The creamy, delicious broth is sure to warm you up on even the coldest of days! In this article, we will showcase our curated selection of the 9 best bowls to try when you visit Sapporo. Starting with the absolute staple, Miso Ramen, we will then move on and also introduce some curveballs, such as Shouyu- or Tonkotsu-based broths.
*Please note that the 9 shops we are introducing in this article all contain meat products and are not halal.
In Japan, when people mention Sapporo-style Ramen they undoubtedly are talking about Miso Ramen. With that in mind, we will introduce the Miso Ramen spots you simply can’t miss, in addition to some offbeat suggestions that feature other styles. Our guide for the 9 Ramen shops we will showcase is a local writer and Ramen enthusiast Hasegawa Keisuke. The first stop is the iconic Ajino-sanpei. Here, vegetables are stir-fried in a Chinese-style pot before being doused in piping hot Miso soup. Ajino-sanpei is said to have birthed this unique style.
Other staples include Menya Saimi, which is located about 20 minutes from Sapporo Station by subway, as well as Ohkami-soup, about a 15-minute walk from the downtown area Susukino. Menya Saimi features a soup with stewed pork bones and vegetables, to which their home-made Miso is added to create a rich yet mild bowl of Ramen. Hasegawa lets us in on the ropes: “If you add the grated ginger that is on top of the pork fillet to the soup halfway through, the broth’s complexion becomes more noted, providing a slightly nuanced taste as you finish your bowl”. The unique point of Ohkami-soup’s broth is the addition of cayenne pepper powder together with garlic and ginger for a flavorful, spicy finish. This powerful combination is sure to warm every inch of your body.
These three spots can be considered the old guard of Sapporo’s Ramen scene. We will now move onto shops that have recently captured the hearts of local foodies, one of which is Sapporo Menya Mitsuba, which is about a 15-minute subway ride away from Sapporo Station. To hear Hasegawa say it, “this place is actually on an offshoot from Menya Saimi and features three separate types of Miso blended together for a classic taste. Even in the way they carefully cut their onions one by one, you can really feel a sort of craftsmanship in every bowl.”
Moving on, the “bowl that lifts your spirits DX” at Ramen Sapporo Ichiryuan places an emphasis on a unique ingredient: alpine leek, which is seen as a food of medicinal properties by the Native Ainu. Though it has a strong odor, this is held in check through pre-freezing the leek as well as the addition of scrambled eggs. Because of small details like this, the bowl has been gathering attention from local gourmets as somewhat of a representation of Hokkaido itself.
At Sapporo Fujiya, located about 15 minutes from Sapporo Station by subway, their trademark Miso broth is made from fish stock and lard, which is added to dried sardines. This mix between seafood and pork creates an interesting balance for fresh take on the classic Miso Ramen.
Hasegawa also has his eye on non-Miso players in the scene, one of which is Bon-nokaze Sugimura Chuukasoba. The soup is made from a chicken base, to which soy sauce, home-made flavored oil as well as chicken oil is added for a sharp, refreshing taste. “Though it is only open at lunch and is about 25 minutes away from Sapporo Station with a total of 10 seats, this is one bowl I definitely want you to try!” says Hasegawa.
For a sophisticated take on seafood-based Ramen, try the Seafood Tonkotsu Soy Ramen at MEN EIJI HIRAGISHI BASE. This innovative bowl features yuzu jelly, which slowly melts into the fishy broth. The thick broth is made by adding horse mackerel, sardines, and bonito into a pork bone base, with the refreshing aroma of yuzu adding the finishing touch.
To end things off, we want to showcase an especially creative bowl brought to you by Amewayasashiku. This spot opened in relative anonymity in the residential area of Kikusui Motomachi, which is about an hour from Sapporo Station. They quickly gained fame for their seafood-based broth topped with liver paste, and eventually opened their second store within walking distance to the station. Here, they showcased their creativity again, offering a soup made from chicken broth together with grilled scallop paste. There are several ways to enjoy this unique bowl: It is up to you whether you let the paste slowly melt into your bowl or use it as a dip for the accompanying Burdock Tempura. As an added bonus, the towering serving of scallop paste is sure to make for a good picture!
This finishes our journey through some of the hottest spots in Sapporo’s Ramen scene, and we hope you take a tour to any of the spots that caught your eye.
Born in 1976 in Aichi Prefecture, Hasegawa is a food writer who has spent years following local producers and chefs throughout Hokkaido. Furthermore, he has been in charge of reporting on the Ramen scene for a local magazine for over 10 years and has written several books on the subject.