There’s a handy tip when picking where to eat in Japan; if you see queues of locals, the restaurant will give you some decent grub. Shingen ramen house in Sapporo’s Susukino district is no exception to this rule.
It’s well worth a detour from the main streets of bars and izakayas, located about 10 minutes on foot from the Susukino metro station. Foolhardy diners could easily be put off by the lengthy line upon arrival but usually, you’ll be seated within 20 minutes if the queue remains inside the building. The place is small, as only 13 diners can be seen to in one sitting but the turnover is rapid. Plus it’s a joy to watch the chefs churn out delicious bowls in the open kitchen as you wait.
The entry level ramen will set you back 760 yen and you can select the base for your broth from soy, salt, miso and spicy miso. Slices of succulent roast pork can be added for extra and there are exceptionally well-priced set menus which include gyoza and drinks. There’s even an English menu to help you choose if your Japanese isn’t great.
Rest assured your patience will be rewarded, as a steaming bowl is placed before you. The spicing and flavours are simply exquisite and some of the best available at this price. The staff are incredibly accommodating even though they’re busy so they will adjust the thickness of the delicious noodles to your preference. Undoubtedly, the star of the show is the pork bone broth that drowns the ingredients. It’s rich and fragrant and, thankfully, socially acceptable to drink straight from the bowl.
Finding a ramen restaurant like Shingen is a rewarding experience. The staff work together like a well-oiled machine to ensure the scores of hungry customers go away well fed and content. The long line is a testament to the exceptional food they serve.