Tatebayashi, Japan: Senmatsu Ramen

?????? Ever since our favorite ramen restaurant down the road closed last fall (Tokoton! I shall forever miss you!), we have been keeping an eye out for a good ramen shop in our neighborhood. Yesterday a friend of ours recommended a place not far from our apartment, and so, on our way home, Paul and I both proclaimed ourselves too tired to cook and made a detour to Senmatsu, which is known for its yuzu ramen. (Yuzu is a type of Japanese citrus, a flavor and scent that I adore.)

We’re also celebrating our anniversary this Saturday (6 years!), and since rain is forecasted for that day, we figured why not go out to eat early just in case the rain keeps us in?

Senmatsu is a charming little restaurant with bar seating and two regular tables. We were delighted to realize that they were playing piano covers of music from the Zelda games!

Ordering was done through a ticket vending machine at the door, which boasted a number of options:

Paul and I chose yuzu-shoyu (soy sauce broth) and yuzu-shio (salt broth) respectively, along with extra menma (pickled bamboo shoots) for me, extra chashu (braised pork belly) for Paul, and some dumplings for the both of us. I’m excited to go back — there’s a spicy broth I want to try, as well as mazesoba, which is apparently ramen without the broth, and a cold ramen option!

The ramen was soooo good! Katie and I had some cold yuzu ramen at Tatebayashi’s Men-1 Grand Prix ramen festival last month, and I was excited to introduce Paul to it. The yuzu flavor in the broth was at the perfect level — citrusy and tasty, but also subtle. And the dumplings tasted fantastic both separate and dipped in the broth!

Also, in Japan, if you order alcohol, especially beer, you get a tiny plate of something called otsumami, which is basically just a snack that comes with the drink. It can be anything from pickled mung bean sprouts to bits of meat. I love them, Paul doesn’t love them, and it’s fantastic — I always get two helpings!

Initially, Paul ordered a beer and I just stuck with water — until his otsumami came and I devoured it. It was pickled bamboo shoots and shredded chicken, and it was amazing. I scarfed it down without even taking a picture of it! It was so delicious that I ordered my own beer just to get another helping. The otsumami the waitress brought out for me was different, but no less tasty — pork!

A cold beer, hot ramen, and dumplings — it was a great anniversary dinner!

If you’re ever in the mood for some unconventional ramen, check out Senmatsu!

Until next time — ????

Senmatsu Ramen


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