Masked by a rather tacky name is in fact the sister shop of probably the most secretive and rather notorious ramen joint in Fukuoka, the mysterious ‘Genki Ippai’ (元気一杯). Well regarded as serving the best Hakata ramen among the ‘aficionados’, its rumoured strict and ‘hidden’ rules have always been making first timers reluctant. Who will enjoy having a bowl under an intense atmosphere, worrying to be thrown out anytime when certain etiquette are not up to the owner’s self-imposed standards.
No such thing here at this open secret #2 shop, run by a young and energetic crew where customers feel more than welcomed. Probably they do need that for now as the place, with very transparent see through windows on street level, was hardly ever filled everytime I pass by the neighbourhood.
The bowl itself, I must confess, was indeed superb. It goes beyond just being balanced as a classic Hakata tonkotsu ramen. While some called it ‘creamy’, I will even go further to say that it is somewhat ‘feminine’ in style. A rather unusual label for tonkotsu ramen I guess.
The accompanying Karashi Takana was just equally superb as rumoured. They served it in a rather chunky style here with stems and one can even choose the desired level of spiciness.
Opened back in last June, it is just a matter of time before ramen fans will catch on and queues being spotted.
Look out for that legendary blue bucket when you are in the neighbourhood. A best kept secret for now!
(Note: It was reported that a management change took place on March 2017 and the shop is now no longer directly related to ‘Genki Ippai’ (元気一杯). Its taste and style also reportedly have been taking a diverging turn as well. The shop is now officially called (博多元気一番 !! 柳橋本店) and have a branch at 箱崎 as well – December 2017)