The hamburger of Japan.

‘Twas a harrowing day of a delayed plane, a harried sprint across San Francisco airport, missing the flight, and frantically trying to catch another flight to Osaka, Japan. BUT WE HAVE FINALLY MADE IT. And to treat ourselves, we made a beeline for the food that has popped up like daisies all over the country–ramen!

My parents talk a lot about the numerous ramen restaurants here; it’s old hat, like how Americans can just go and get a hamburger. But in the US, typically I consider ramen a luxury. I mean, going to a nice, legit ramen place in New York is a real treat. But here in Japan–it’s like eating McDonald’s. Everybody’s eating it for a quick meal fix, but the restaurants are sleek modern places with strong reputations.

Apparently most restaurants in Japan also employ this sophisticated ordering vending machine–there’s the menu on display and you pick what you want by pressing a certain button. A ticket spits out and then you hand it to the cook. It’s simple, efficient, and prompt.

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(And I guess that if you want to avoid social interaction or language barriers, this sort of technology is a blessing indeed. But still, I predict that I’ll be doing a lot of troll speech. Pointing and grunting, the like.)

My mom told me that the particular place we went to cooks their pork belly for 17 hours. 17 HOURS. That’s a lot of love for Porky. However, the broth was super rich. As in very, very rich and salty, bit on the heavy side. The ramen noodles were also rather thin and a little coarser than what I’m used to, but it wasn’t unpleasant. There were three beautifully tender pieces of pork belly included as well, and a whole array of various condiments available on the table. There was a garlic presser, for crying out loud, to squeeze out fresh sprinkles of garlic. Even though ramen is pretty common, there’s no doubt these folks take their noodles seriously.

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To conclude, slurping on ramen was a fantastic start to my trip. Can’t wait to update y’all on more nomz!

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