Monday, April 17, 2017

Saga International Balloon Festival (Taromen)

Every year in the beginning of November, there is an international hot air balloon festival held in Saga prefecture in Kyushu. A friend had been telling me about it for a while, and in the end of 2015, he convinced me to go.


No Japanese festival experience is complete without a stop at some of the various food stands. Saga is not as famous as nearby prefectures Nagasaki and Fukuoka for their ramen, but one stand called Taromen offered a unique noodle dish of its own. They claimed it's different from ramen, udon, and other dishes, so I had to give it a try.


The Bowl
The broth was simple and cloudy, tasting like a tanmen-style shio ramen. The pieces of ginger that accessorized it caused it to pick up some of those flavors, too. The thick yet soft noodles, too, were filled with the ginger flavor that had spread throughout the dish. In another similarity to tanmen, the bowl was filled with vegetables, by which I mean cabbage and bean sprouts. A single, unusally shelled shrimp, sat atop the whole thing, presumably to confuse foreigners like me used to eating them peeled. Overall the dish was pretty solid; similar to tanmen, but otherwise different from the kind of noodles you'd find at a festival.



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