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Is there anything more instantly satisfying than a steaming bowl of ramen? Despite its status as a humble student staple, this classic Japanese comfort food is the latest culinary craze to take hold of Barcelona, with dedicated soup shops popping up citywide. Salty, savory and devoured at a quick pace, an awful lot of effort goes into this seemingly simple street food, from the tender chashu pork to the handcrafted noodles. Here’s a handful of hotspots that have perfected that umami taste in Barcelona.
Some say it’s the best bowl in Barcelona, but we’ll leave that for you to decide. Hiroshima native Hiroki Yoshiyuki is the soup master around these parts, having launched this place as the city’s first dedicated ramen shop, which despite humble appearances is no small endeavor. With each component made from scratch, a lot of love goes into the delicate chicken and pork broth, slow-braised chashu, and handmade noodles, all tailored to taste with additional toppings such as tofu, egg, narutomaki and butter. Proof that all this effort has paid off can be seen by the crowds that pack Ramen-Ya HIRO. It isn’t uncommon for people to wait outside for up to an hour to get their fix, so get there early to secure a seat.
Ramen-Ya HIRO, Carrer de Girona 164, Barcelona, Spain +34 930 028 441
You would never know that a duo of Irish guys and a Swede were the driving force behind this hip joint in the Gothic quarter, where the soup tastes as authentically Japanese as anything you might sample in the Land of the Rising Sun. Outside, a bright neon ‘ramen’ sign declares Koku Kitchen’s raison d’être, whilst inside, shared seating and welcoming staff create the perfect laid-back atmosphere for slurping homemade noodles from a steaming savory broth. Scrawled on a wall-sized chalkboard, their menu runs the usual gamut of flavors (miso, shoyu and a tongue-tingling picante), but the miso version, with its creamy mix of tonkotsu pork bone broth, soybean paste and melt-in-the-mouth meat is a particular star of the show.
Koku Kitchen, Carrer d’en Carabassa 19, Barcelona, Spain + 34 933 156 411
Stark white walls and sleek communal benches make up this refined ramen spot in Barcelona’s Eixample area, which specializes in the namesake broth, Tonkotsu. Run by a Catalan couple with a taste for this rich, pork bone base, it takes eight hours to perfect their emulsified and creamy soup, which is then sprinkled with a familiar array of slow-cooked chashu, egg and spring onions. Although portions veer a little on the small side, there’s plenty to pick from on the Asian-inspired street food menu, which covers all corners of the continent with dishes such as Vietnamese summer rolls, grilled scallops and fried noodles. For those who like a bit of kick in their dinner, the spicy tantan-men soup is well worth ordering;deliciously fiery and definitely moreish.
Tonkotsu, Carrer de València 290, Barcelona, Spain +34 935 107 857