At Hayatemaru Ramen north meets south
One of the nation’s tastiest ramen noodle restaurants is Hayatemaru, which got its start in Hokkaido and has spread all the way to Okinawa, where customers now have five locations to choose from, including the latest to open on Miyako.
Okinawan native Munetsugu Okuhara is the owner of the Hayatemaru ramen restaurant chain. His interest in cooking led him to study Japanese soba in Kobe when he was only 16. He then became an apprentice with Japanese Ryotei in Kyoto, where he studied traditional Japanese style foods, then ventured into studying western style cuisine, then Chinese, while venturing further into Japanese dishes. Finally, his travels landed him in Hokkaido, where he fell in love with Hokkaido foods and culture, and decided to create his own ramen restaurant in 2002. He called it Kotenpan, the predecessor to the Hayatemaru restaurants.
With success in Hokkaido, his thoughts returned to his roots in Okinawa, where he opened his first Hayatemaru in Chatan in 2004. Now there are five, including the latest on Miyako Island, which opened last month. He also opened a branch in Los Angeles in 2012.
What makes Okuhara’s Ramen so special? The soup base for Hayatemaru is pork and chicken with flavoring ingredients, boiled almost nine hours every day that gives it a rich taste. The noodles of Hayatemaru are sent from Kobayashi noodle company in Hokkaido daily, and the fresh taste is coupled with plump firmness, the special ingredients offering a complete Ramen that is perfect every single day. Okuhara’s head offices remain in Hokkaido Prefecture, the most famous place for ramen noodles in Japan.
The single most popular ramen of Hayatemaru is “Siromiso Ramen” , which uses a pork base, coupled with the rich scent from white miso, with blending sauce to provide a great taste without the fat. Okuhara says that’s what allows customers to enjoy the soup right down to the last drop. All the other ramens on the Hayatemaru menu that are made with
soy or salt (shio) base, taste great, of course, and some limited offers periodically show up on the menu to add fun and variety for customers.
One popular offer to customers is a stamp rally service card; customers get a stamp on the card when ordering a ramen at Hayatemaru, and get ¥400 cash back with 10 stamps, and an additional ¥600 cash back with another 10 stamps. Hayatemaru staff is young and fresh, and are serving their great ramen in their good teamwork even during rush hours.
The manager of Hayatemaru Chatan branch Hiromu Chibana says his staff really feels pleasure when foreigners say them “Oishikatta” in Japanese, and are impressed. There is bilingual staff any time, and Hayatemaru welcomes foreigner customers.
They also offer a noodle type ramen that is made without eggs for people who have egg allergies. Other special dishes are available upon request for those who don’t want vegetables or char siu.
Hayatemaru is located in Mihama, Chatan, on the first floor of the Seaside Square. It is open everyday 11:30 a.m. – midnight, with last orders at 11:45 p.m.. Their telephone number is 098-926-0027. Yen or dollars are accepted, but not credit cards. A look at the menu is at http://www.hayatemaru.com.