Ramen RamblesAn excerpt from my book, Ramen Rambles.
On a cold snowy day on Japan's northern-most island of Hokkaido, its citizens are likely to be slurping a bowl of miso ramen. After all, it is their invention - at least the miso part of the dish - and its hot broth and long, thin noodles slip down so comfortably.
I'm in Winnipeg, with a similar craving for ramen. I'll explain why in a moment, if there can be a rational explanation for craving ramen in Winnipeg. But it is cold outside, just like Hokkaido, and I do need to walk. Somewhere. Nowhere. Anywhere. This winter, walking for ramen seems a reasonable goal and, fortunately for my new obsession, there are at least five ramen destinations scattered through the city.
First on my list is Yujiro, a Japanese restaurant only four kilometers away. The general direction is familiar, just head south across the Assiniboine River and down a grid network of residential streets in the River Heights neighbourhood. I choose Lanark, boringly straight and long except for a series of bays protruding off one side. I loop around each bay, alongside the modest houses that line the outer perimeter, looking onto yet another snowy, treed park at the centre. Later, a complex of apartments arranged at an angle to the rectilinear street patten create their own network of bays.
Yujiro is on its own bay of sorts, on Grant Avenue. The banal bays of strip malls everywhere with their sidewalk-facing a field of asphalt parking. I'll momentarily forgive this urban-edge tragedy. Inside, hot broth and noodles call out.