When I went to Japan, I knew that I was going to be eating a lot of good food. A lot. Being the foodie I am, that excited me. Maybe because Japan is a small country, each city has something that they are famous for. In Osaka, I ate takoyaki. In Hiroshima, I ate okonomiyaki. Another huge thing that Japan in general is famous for is ramen. No surprise there, right? Many of my friends strongly encouraged me to try the ramen while I was in Japan. A life changing experience according to them. After I ate it there, nothing else would ever compare.
Ramen isn’t exactly gourmet food in the United States… most of what we know is some processed junk out of a baggie. It’s food you eat in college, when you are broke and can only afford ramen to make it through the month. I was sure the real deal would be fabulous since so many people rave about it. Only one problem… almost all ramen in Japan is made with a pork broth. Since I don’t eat pork, I was so bummed! Would I really miss out on a food that my friends were so in love with?
The principal at my school, bless her heart, took me under her wing. She searched online and found Tori Soba. Tori Soba is a ramen shop in central Okayama. It’s very close to Okayama Castle, Tenmaya Shopping Center, Korakuen Garden, Symphony Hall and Okayama Station. Perfect! Tori Soba specializes in ramen made with chicken, so it was a perfect fit for me. To the principal’s surprise, this ramen shop had very good ratings in Okayama city and was considered one of the best ramen shops there. Even though she lived there her whole life, she never knew about it.
Like many ramen shops, Tori Soba is a hole in the wall with limited seating. During lunch time, it gets very crowded and many people line up outside of the door waiting for their turn. Even though it is small, it is so clean inside and you can see the workers making the dish in front of you. Luckily for me, they had an English menu available. Which I conveniently forgot to take a picture of, haha.
I decided to go with a soy sauce based broth topped with chicken and a soft boiled egg. Something about a soft boiled egg appeals to me and I love that so many Japanese dishes include it! My hubby got a salt based broth with chicken since he was feeling a little under the weather. We got the regular size, which was huge! I can’t imagine how big the double size would be.
What can I say? It was absolutely delicious. The birds flew and the sky burst with rainbows and all of that jazz. The noodles were cooked perfectly and the broth was balanced just right. The best part was the chicken though. Perfectly seasoned and sliced, it was absolutely delicious. Not fatty at all and so tender. I wished there was more!
The broth is really light and just warms you up. I prefer broth that isn’t so overpowering. If you want to add a little kick to your ramen, you can make use of the different spices available at your seat. There was also a chicken rice dish on the menu that they recommended we put in our ramen.
If you are visiting Okayama and want to try some of their best ramen, you should definitely make a stop at Tori Soba. Since it’s conveniently located near all of Okayama’s hot spots, getting there is easy. Once you exit Okayama Station, go down the main street until you reach Symphony Hall. Turn right and you will see the shop on your right. Check it out, you won’t regret it!