What is Sakata ramen?
It is a local flavored ramen that was developed in the Shonai region
Sakata ramen is a general term given to the ramen widely served in the northern Shonai region, centered on Sakata-city, Yamagata prefecture. Because Sakata is a port city, ramen in this region comes with light soy sauce-based soup made with local seafood dashi soup stock. Eighty percent of the noodles in the region are homemade. Furthermore, there are many restaurants that serve ramen with won-ton (a food in which various ingredients are wrapped like a bag with a skin made by thinly rolled flour) added on top.
Sakata ramen started with a few dozen Chinese people introducing ramen to Sakata.
The ramen culture of Sakata city, Yamagata prefecture, started from the early 1900s when a few dozen Chinese people traveled to Sakata. They marched around the city with mobile food carts selling ramen and eventually each one of them began to own their own store. During a period of approximately a century, these stores multiplied. Their techniques have also been passed on to the Japanese people residing in Sakata, leading to the current state where many restaurants owned by a Japanese person serve ramen. Currently, there are over 80 restaurants in Sakata.
Sakata ramen adheres to using homemade noodles
The feature of Sakata ramen is that homemade noodles are used in over 80% of the cases. In the past, making noodles was a given, with there being a saying that goes, “in order to become a ramen chef, you need to be able to make noodles yourself or you won’t become a professional.” Furthermore, a major feature of the noodles is the large volume of water added when making them. Such noodles are known as “high water percentage noodles.” In addition, by leaving the noodles for a few days, smooth noodles that are elastic on the inside yet are soft are made.
One of the major ramen consumption areas in Japan
It is a region where people eat ramen on a regular basis, with there even being Sakata City residents that go out to eat ramen once a week.
The key feature of Sakata is ordering ramen delivery service when a guest comes to one’s home has been entrenched as a custom of hospitality.
Ramen specific to the region that has been entrenched since the old days, like Sakata ramen, is called “regional flavor ramen”. On a national basis, Sakata ramen is still an esoteric existence that is only known among ramen aficionados. The city of Sakata therefore has been engaging in regional promotion projects that aim to introduce the appeal of Sakata through their own regional ramen. As part of such activities, a ramen map has been made available so that visitors as well as residents can easily access and enjoy Sakata ramen.