Post Otaru, we decided to go for an early dinner. Partly because we didn’t have any lunch there as well, I was kinda hungry! The place we would go to was Sumire, one of 2 of the original founders of the heavy ass miso ramen that is so popular today. As the story goes, miso ramen was first invented by Aji no Sanpei, a ramen shop in Sapporo that still stands today. However, the style they made was a very light one, with miso just barely flavoring a light broth. The more modern version that is de rigueur today is heavy as all hell and covered with fat and heaped full of flavor. This version was created in the 60s by a shop named Sumire/純連.

This post on The Sapporo Ramen Guide is heaps helpful in the telling of this historic tidbit of ramenostronomy. Anyway, long story short, Sumire 純連 was opened by this lady who had 3 sons. When she closed her shop, one son opened a shop called 純連 but this time, they called it Junren, according to the Chinese characters. The other 2 sons then opened a shop called Sumire, eventually adding the hiragana すみれ to differentiate the stores.

I ate at Sumire すみれ mostly because the tabelog score was higher and it seemed slightly nearer. At this point I did consider going to a few other ramen places but time wasn’t permissive. Sumire had a score of 3.69/5 when I visited it. A few shops scored higher, around 3.8 to 4.0 or so. Compared nationwide, there were maybe 2 shops in Sapporo that came close in ranking to the rest. Sumire is famous but it’s not quite as highly regarded as it must have been in the past. Still, if you’re thinking about miso ramen or Sapporo miso ramen to be exact, Sumire’s version is the marker.

Rather than talk endlessly about how good this was, I’m just going to cut to image. Because it was that damn bloody good. When you finish the bowl of noodles and soup, there’s a 感谢 on the bottom that has been scratched off on mine. I finished mine and my mom’s. Instead of chashu, it comes with chopped up chashu. You can also order some chashu on the side. This shop is the main shop, located in Toyohira. It now has branches around the country.

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