June 24, 16 | Shizuko Kosuna
Soft serve from Inoue Shokudou in Bifuka-Cho
Soft serve is thick and smoothBifuka-Cho is located about in the middle of Asahikawa and Wakkanai. Inoue Shokudo is five minutes walk from JR Bifuka station.
One of the characteristics of Inoue Shokudo is their Showa-like nostalgic atmosphere.
Ramen is very famous at Inoue Shokudo, but the most popular menu is soft serve.
The place is known well by soft serve lovers and motorcycle riders. There will be long waiting lines everyday during summer holidays.
▲The exterior of Inoue Shokudo. You can eat soft serve outside in summer.
▲The smallest SS size soft serve and the largest 5L size.
The size of soft serve is eight kinds; from SS (80yen) to 5L (810yen). The flavor is vanilla only.
SS size is perfect for children. Or, for adults when they want to eat a little bit.
The 5L size soft serve is huge! I could feel the weight when I held the soft serve.
Even only the soft serve part is about 25 centimeters high, but it is about 30 centimeters when a cone is included.
The soft serve stands still. It seems like easy to fall, but it does not because the manager is skilled.
▲The second generation of manager Tomio Inoue makes soft serve for 50 years.
5L seems to be five times larger than the standard size.
It seems like a lot of amounts, but Inoue says many people finish by himself.
Very thick and smooth texture and slight aroma of vanilla. Surprisingly, the taste is not heavy.
I understand this soft serve is easy to finish.
The balance of satisfying “thickness” and “lightness” which make me want to eat another bite is just about right.
Inoue said that the taste of soft serve is original; they mix soft serve mix, fresh cream, milk powder, and some more.
They started selling soft serve around 1972-1973 with the size variety of small, medium, large, extra large. Then they added size types and now still provide soft serve at low prices.
By the way, I was worried if I can finish the 5L size soft serve before it melts all. However, the manager brought a plate so I could finish the soft serve even it started to melt.
It seems like the manager’s careful considerations like this is one of the biggest attractions of Inoue Shokudo.
▲2L size (390yen) which other customer ordered. 2L seems to be pretty big, too.
Mix soup and topping as you like: ramen at Inoue Shokudo▲Numerous menus are put on the wall. When entering the restaurant, the amount surprises people at first.
Another reason why Inoue Shokudo is so popular is ramen which customers can mix as they like.
- [Soup] 7 kinds (Tonkotsu Hakudaku - Pork bone, Fish, Pumpkin, Chicken Mix, Pork Mix, Beef Mix, Chicken Soup)
- [Noodles] 5 kinds (Suto Noodle, Kato Noodle, Fujiwara Noodle, Nishiyama Noodle, Toyota Noodle)
- [Oil and fat] 8 kinds (Lard with ginger taste, Lard with green onion flavor, Chicken oil and fat, Butter, Oil with green onion taste, Olive oil, Sesame oil, Low cholesterol oil)
- [Hardness of Noodles] Normal, Soft, Hard
- [Taste] 5 kinds (Shoyu - soy sauce, Miso, Shio - Salt, Curry, Tantan - sesame paste and chili oil)
The variety of toppings is surprisingly various, too.
When ordering, write down the alphabets and Japanese characters written with circles to paper and hand it to the manager. The characters are unique to each menu.
If you have no idea what to order, it is recommended to add soup or oil and fat you like. The most popular menu is “C: Pork Bone soup and lard with ginger taste” 620 yen.
▲The topping comes separately so that the soup does not get cold fast. Spices also served with ramen; ginger, garlic, chili oil and spicy miso.
I doubted the taste of ramen because there are so many kinds, but I was surprised when I ate.
This ramen is one of the real types of ramen. The taste of ginger makes miso stand out.
I just ate one menu this time but when I stop by here next time, I would like to try other tastes and toppings.
Other than ramen, there is curry, set meal, and Don - rice bowl menus.
The manager says, “I would like my customers to eat what they like. The numbers of the menu may continue to increase by customers’ requests”.
Inoue Shokudo is an addicting and unique place.
Of course the deliciousness of soft serve and ramen, but the atmosphere inside the restaurant with hand written menus all over the wall are very attractive. When it’s not crowded, chatting with the manager is also a fun part of visiting this place.
A must-go place if you have a chance to go to Asahikawa or Wakkanai.
Text / Shizuko Kosuna
Photo / Naomitsu Hayashi