Translated by Lester Somera
Visit Fukunoki In Sapporo For Muslim-Friendly Ramen!
Written by Ryosuke Ise
Sapporo has many ramen restaurants, but only a few have fully halal menus. Let's take a look at one of those restaurants, Fukunoki.
Head to Fukunoki for Muslim-Friendly Ramen
As the biggest city in Hokkaido, Sapporo is famous as a tourist destination for its food, shopping and beautiful scenery. Each year, many tourists visit Sapporo, and one of the things you should eat in Sapporo is ramen. Sapporo has a lot of ramen shops, even for Japan. We’ll introduce you to Fukunoki, a shop which has halal menu offerings.
When you arrive at Fukunoki, you will notice this halal insignia. The restaurant is very popular with international visitors, including Muslims, to the point that sometimes all of the shop’s customers are from overseas. Naturally, it is also beloved by local residents, and there are some people who even eat at Fukunoki every day. While we were talking with Mr. Obara, the owner, many of the shop’s regulars came in, and we had to cut our conversation short several times. What is behind the shop’s popularity? We’ll take a look at three reasons.
1. All Menu Items are Muslim-Friendly, So Everyone Can Enjoy the Same Dish
Meat, Miso and Tomato Noodles (850 yen including tax) Photos courtesy of: Fukunoki
Many places which offer halal menu items have a separate halal menu from the standard offerings, but Fukunoki is different. The ramen loved by locals can be enjoyed by anyone, with the same taste for everyone.
2. A Robust Selection of Menu Items That Can Only Be Had at Fukunoki
All of Fukunoki’s ramen is tomato-based, which is unusual for Japan. The soup, prepared so that even people who don’t particularly like tomatoes can eat it, uses the nutrients in tomatoes to their fullest extent, and draws out maximum flavor. The ramen also uses no chemical flavorings, and is made with diners’ health in mind. The regular menu items use chicken bone broth, but there are also vegetarian tomato noodles (890 yen including tax). Let’s look at two particularly popular ramen dishes.
Shrimp Jarashi is the Most Popular
Photos courtesy of: Fukunoki
The flagship dish of Fukunoki is the shrimp jarashi ramen (950 yen including tax), with a tomato-based soup and plenty of shrimp. The bright red soup, garnished with mizuna greens and peppers, gives the bowl a colorful appearance. The centerpiece of this ramen is the extravagant whole shrimp that tops the noodles.
Fukunoki’s original flat noodles entwine nicely with the thick broth, and the shrimp flavor fills your mouth. The tomato broth, with its mild sweetness, blends well with the shrimp and makes you want to drink it all.
There is another secret to the ramen’s deliciousness: the special shrimp paste in the center. As it dissolves, the rich taste of shrimp expands in the bowl. When you eat all the noodles, leave the soup for later. We’ll explain the recommended way to finish up the soup.
All-Meat Tomato Noodles, Popular with Muslim Customers
For people who want to eat a lot of meat, we recommend the All-Meat Tomato Noodle (1250 yen including tax). It consists of the regular tomato noodle ramen, topped with chicken. It is made using three kinds of tomatoes, making it good for tomato lovers.
You’ll be shocked by its size when it’s brought to your table, as the bowl is topped with so much chicken that you can’t see the noodles. There are four kinds of chicken in total: chicken sausage, chicken wings, homemade chicken ham, and finally, crumbled chicken.
Naturally, all cuts are halal-certified so that Muslim customers can enjoy it. When you dig in, you’ll notice how the rich, thick broth entwines with the noodles, while the tomato flavor itself is addictive. Furthermore, the four different toppings all have their own flavors for you to enjoy. You’ll want to drink all the soup, but hold out a little longer.
Make a Risotto with the Leftover Soup
Photos courtesy of: Fukunoki
After you’ve finished your noodles, use the leftover soup to create a risotto. You can get cheese on rice (120 yen including tax) to throw into your soup. The combination of rich tomato soup and cheese is exquisite. The rice used is not white rice, but turmeric rice procured from India.
3. Other Appealing Points
You can feel the care that Fukunoki puts into its menu from the other items on offer.
You Can Switch to Potato Noodles
If you want to enjoy a somewhat different texture, we recommend the potato noodles. You can switch to the potato noodles for an extra 100 yen. Their round appearance is different from the standard flat noodles. They have a characteristic springy, chewy texture, so you can taste something different from the norm.
An Original Spice Powder from a Medicinal Cooking Master
Fukunoki is very particular about its spice powder, and the spices are imported from India. The owner, Mr. Obara, who has a medicinal cooking master license, developed a totally original spice powder.
There are cute cat-shaped containers on the tables, with the spice powder contained inside.
Cheesecake That Can Be Enjoyed by Muslim Customers
Fukunoki also offers cheesecake (350 yen including tax). The secret to the delicious Fukunoki cheesecake is fermented cream. The fermented cream is made without animal gelatin or preservatives, and is a Fukunoki original. The fermented cream uses a luxurious amount of cream cheese from Tokaichi in Hokkaido to create this delicious cheesecake.
Hokkaido is known as a cheese and dairy producer, and is the top producer of raw milk in Japan. Among cities in Hokkaido, Tokaichi in the east is the most prosperous milk producer. However, it’s an unusual pairing for cheesecake to be on a ramen shop menu.
The owner, Mr. Obara, used to run a cafe, so he sells the cheesecake that his cafe offered at the time. It’s unusual for dessert to be offered at Sapporo ramen shops, and you can even pick some up to go. If your stomach is too full from the ramen, you can bring cheesecake back to your hotel to eat it later.
Fully English Menus
Fukunoki has English menus available for tourists. Every item has a photo, so you can understand what a dish contains at a glance. The staff members will talk to you in simple English. If there’s something that you don’t understand, they will kindly try to assist you with phone translation and other means, so feel free to ask them.
There is also an explanation for Muslim customers.
There are also photos of the chicken used in menu items, so you can relax and enjoy.
A Ramen Shop that Cares About the Health of its Customers
In addition to its Muslim-friendly menu, Fukunoki always keeps its diners in mind, as you can tell from its emphasis on not using additives. The dishes are made with the wish that people who eat at Fukunoki stay healthy. The reason Mr. Obara opened the ramen shop was that he didn’t like pork or alcohol. His intent was to create a place where everyone could enjoy their food and be healthy, without worrying about dietary restrictions. When you come to Sapporo, please visit Fukunoki. The owner and staff will greet you with a smile.
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In cooperation with: Fukunoki