Akayu Spicy Miso Ramen [Regional Ramen 2]
Akayu Spicy Miso Ramen is a hidden gem of a ramen style. This winter warming, regional ramen is from Yamagata prefecture. It's hard to miss the red ball of spicy miso in the middle.
In this series we zoom in on regional styles of ramen across Japan! The goal - to profile 100 regional ramen!
Akayu Spicy Miso Ramen - Roots
In the sleepy town of Nanyo City, Yamagata, you'll find ramen shop Ryu Shanghai (赤湯ラーメン 龍上海). We have Ryu Shanghai to thank for this tasty style of ramen.
This ramen shop has been around since 1958, originally basing their menu around shoyu (soy sauce) ramen. This was often the case for ramen shops across the country.
But at one point Ryu Shanghai decided to change things up. They experimented with leftover soup, leading them to create the now legendary Akayu Spicy Miso Ramen.
What's in it?
Sapporo style miso ramen gets the most attention. But this miso ramen is different. Instead of using miso as seasoning for the soup, it's found in a red ball in the middle.
This red ball is the source of spiciness. It lights up the soup as it seeps in over time. This ball is made up of soy sauce, spicy miso and garlic. The clear soup itself is pork bones, chicken bones, and fish. These ingredients are boiled for 6+ hours.
The soup is served scalding hot and they even add a thick layer of spring onion oil to it. Toppings include naruto (fish cake), chashu pork, bamboo shoots, and spring onions. In addition, there's aonori (green laver seaweed) floating about.
They make the super thick, wavy noodles in house every morning. You're guaranteed to be full after this bowl.
This Ramen Today
This spicy miso ramen has been a local Yamagata favorite for some time. But it didn't really gain traction outside of Yamagata until it was added to the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum. This ramen theme park south of Tokyo features rotating ramen shops.
When Ryu Shanghai was added to the museum's rotation there was more awareness. Today, this style is probably Japan's second most famous regional miso ramen. There's even an instant version, which we include in our Spicy Ramen pack when it's available!
Ryu Shanghai Shop Hours: 11:30 am ~ 6:45 pm (closed on Wed)