Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fukuoka - Ganso Nagahama and Moment / Manu Coffee

Cold and wet day in Fukuoka city
On a bad weather day, it is a huge consolation that a city like Fukuoka allows the visitor as much fun indoors as out.

Ganso Nagahama
And so we ventured by taxi to discover the hype around this little local ramen joint in the fish market area of Nagahama.

Waiting to be let into the zone
When we got out of our cab, the queue had stretched the length of exterior of the shop, all locals shivering and trying to stay warm while waiting to be let in.

Vending machine
Having done a little research, we knew to buy a meal ticket before joining the queue and shortly after I snapped this photo, a server came out to stick yet another sold out sign over the “Kaetama” option.  No extra serving of noodles available?  Oh well, back to low carb diet then..

Bustling room of ramen ravishers
There's not a lot of conversation in the room once you get in.  All you hear are the sounds of the servers communicating with the open kitchen and the sucking and slurping sounds of ramen ravishers consumed by the task at hand.

Enjoy it fast & furious
It's not the type of meal to tarry over.  If you're slow, your noodles become less firm and the soup less piping hot.  So once served, just start slurping till there's no more.

This is actually what it looks like before you dig in.  Sesame and ginger are table side so help yourself.  This version of ramen is pretty basic.  The soup stock is not as rich as other places and an equal part of the taste comes from the pork slices which are salted.  We saw the locals pouring shoyu into it, but if you like it a little less salty, I found the stock adequate though I can see how some may find it comparatively bland.  Verdict: it's definitely a taste of old world, basic and nothing fancy, probably reminiscent of something in an old Nagahama household.  But as a visitor to Fukuoka, I enjoyed my bowl at Ichiran a little more.

Taking the haul apart
The nice part of eating in this part of town is getting to see some of the seafood shops in action.  The main market was shut by the time we finished with lunch but this shop was still full of action at 3 in the afternoon.

Peddling the wares
There was still a fair bit of a variety on offer even at that time of day.

Counter at Moment Coffee
More important was our search for java which would complete my second ramen and coffee sojourn.  Given the neighborhood we were in, we weren't optimistic that we would get a satisfying cuppa since I hadn't heard that fishermen and coffee went together.  But as luck would have it, we chanced upon Moment Coffee and didn't hesitate to escape from the wet and cold outside.

House blend
Moment serves a well balanced house blend that hand dripped, was well balanced with a nice finish without being overly acidic.

 Espresso drinks were also yummy and were well put together, creating a finished product that neither coffee nor milk overpowered each other.

Manu Coffee
We would have made the short journey back to Manu Coffee (which we enjoyed on our first morning) if we didn't chance upon Moment Coffee.

Enter if you can figure out how
With lots of coffee paraphernalia around the store, it had a really nice vibe to the place, so great to chill, especially if you like the Beatles...  for some reason, all the coffee places I went to on this trip played the Beatles, with the exception on Moment which is a lot more contemporary and jazzy.

Espresso drinks done table side
Coffee here is just as good as Moment and it seems to be the more established store with 3 locations across the city.  And the novelty is espresso drinks finished table side.  Nice touch.

Ganso Nagahama
Nagahama 2-5-19 Chuo-ku
Tel: +81-92-781-0723

Moment Coffee
中央区舞鶴 2-3-10-102, Fukuoka-shi
+81 92-713-4370

Manu Coffee
Border Tower Bld 1F,3-11-2 Watanabe Street, Chuou-ku
Fukuoka 810-0004

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