Release | Hiromi Wtanabe
Find your favorite bowl of ramen with a ramen expert and Sapporo Ramen Taxi
The popularity of ramen never goes down among all the delicious foods in Hokkaido.
And taxi drivers must know delicious shops in the local community.
“Sapporo Ramen Taxi” with yellow stickers on bodies are running in the city of Sapporo from January 2018.
One of the drivers of Sapporo Ramen Taxi, who is a ramen expert, took me to a delicious ramen shop.
Table of Contents- What is Sapporo Ramen Taxi?
- I took a ride with Sapporo Ramen Taxi
- The ramen shop I got recommended was a ramen shop using over 90% of ingredients produced in Hokkaido
What is Sapporo Ramen Taxi?“‘Sapporo Ramen Taxi’ are the taxis with drivers who can recommend delicious ramen shops according to customer’s tastes to travelers, business trippers, or local residents.
The drivers who passed the requirements run within Sapporo City with yellow stickers on the cars from January 2018. There were ramen taxis already in Fukuoka, Wakayama, and Niigata, however, Sapporo must be the first one to operate cruising ramen taxi.”
“You can reserve the ramen taxi from the website, too. But the basic way to get on a Sapporo Ramen Taxi is to find one running around the city.
There are 28 drivers and 37 ramen shops involved in the ramen taxi.
Drivers need to pass certain standards to get admitted as a driver of Sapporo Ramen Taxi.
First of all, a driver must have a predetermined number of ramens from ramen shops in the network in a certain period. (It was 20 shops in 3 months this time) And eating is not the end.
They must write a report about each ramen shop. The report must include the ranking of the flavor out of 5, characteristics of noodles and soup, atmosphere, and who he/she would recommend the ramen shop.
The driver will pass the requirements if the report gets admitted that he/she is qualified to take customers.
47 drivers challenged the first test, but only 28 drivers passed.
Everyone submitted detailed reports including the flavor, ingredients (if the shop uses Hokkaido produced ingredients), cleanliness, staffs attitudes, and if there are a kids area, etc.
They are the expert of Sapporo ramens.”
I took a ride with Sapporo Ramen TaxiWell, let’s ask the ramen expert to take me to a delicious ramen shop! I actually got a ride to “Sapporo Ramen Taxi”.
The driver was Shindo Shimada from Myojo Jidosha Shiraishi branch.
Mr. Shimada is also one of the only four Gold drivers of Yumedaichi Hokkaido Guide Taxi.
And he has a variety of certifications such as all the local Expert Certifications in Hokkaido, Sapporo Night View Navigator, Beer Expert, Hakodate Squid Meister, etc.
He started getting those certifications to learn about a variety of things to entertain his customer. Sapporo Ramen Expert was one of them.
He collected all the information about ramen shops in the Sapporo Ramen Taxi network and the report included tons of additional notes.
He hosts his customers with those documents and new information he gained.
▲The documents are filled with his notes.
“I love ramen that I want to have it even on a hot day. It must be because I am from Hokkaido. I guess there are not many people who don’t like ramen, right? However, the taste of ramen differs depending on the person.
It would be much easier for me to introduce a ramen shop if customers tell me what kind of ramens they like: such as miso, shoyu, or modern flavors such as shrimp soup or tsukemen.
It’s difficult for me if a customer asks for the best ramen in Sapporo or my favorite ramen.
I try to ask for customer’s preferences and take to a shop of my recommendation according to what customers say.
Another important thing is the location of a ramen shop.
Many of my customers are tourists so it would be hard for them to get back if a ramen shop is far from the center.
And lastly, I have to ask if customers have enough time to wait in line or not. Popular shops tend to have a long queue, so I introduce those shops to only customers who wish to wait.
My recommendation starts with asking customers’ needs. Asking about food is very difficult.”
▲I found the pamphlet of “Sapporo Ramen Taxi” in the taxi. It had a coupon, and each shop offers different services with the coupon.
“I have introduced ramen shops to tourists and locals both, but they have different patterns.
I start working from the evening and tourists tend to have just arrived in Sapporo and willing to have a bowl of ramen as a start of their journey.
Locals who get on the taxi tend to visit Susukino to drink.
So they ask for recommendations to have at the end of the night. I give the pamphlet and the coupon and tell them to choose anything in the pamphlet.
Not only tell them about recommendations but also I often talk about ramens.
Many people think that Sapporo Ramen is miso flavor, but Sapporo Miso Ramen appeared in the 1950s.
Also, Tonkotsu soup is known for Hakata Ramen, but Sapporo Ramen sometimes use Tonkotsu soup.
One of the theories says that we have Tonkotsu soup because of the history of relations with Ainu people.
It makes me very happy if I could entertain my customers with my talking and make them come back to Sapporo again.”
The ramen shop I got recommended was a ramen shop using over 90% of ingredients produced in HokkaidoAs I hear talks like this, Mr. Shimada took me to Ichiryuan near JR Sapporo Station.
▲Many people gather to make a queue before the opening. The shop has many visitors from abroad, and they offer a Halal menu, too.
The shop had a green lantern which is a sign of a restaurant using over 50% domestic ingredients. This lantern is a part of activities to raise the food self-sufficiency rate of Japan.
▲Ichiryuan uses over 90% domestic products and has 5 stars.
The owner Yo Ojima uses over 90% of Hokkaido produced ingredients normally. In winter, which production of vegetable becomes low, he carefully picks ingredients from other parts of Japan.
“From a few years ago, as Japan and as Hokkaido we try to get more and more visitors from abroad.
Hokkaido has beautiful sceneries, great weather, and can produce plenty of delicious foods. And to provide these things are precious tourist attractions.
However, it must be safe.
We are involved in green lanterns, Kitano Megumi Aishoku Restaurant certified from Hokkaido, and Sapporo City’s Sapporo Food Safety Agreement. Those are our promises to customers and to ourselves that we provide delicious and safe foods. Our attitude towards dishes is like this.”
▲Mr. Ojima studied Fishery in university to eat delicious fish. His background is unique that he has been to the South Pole on a whaling ship.
“I think Sapporo Ramen Taxi which we can introduce delicious ramens from taxis is one of the hospitality to people who came to Sapporo and it will surely be an important tourist attraction as a tourist city. We would like to be a part of it to support the activity.”
Mr. Ojima told me.
He recommended me “Genki No Deru Miso Ramen DX”. It puts alpine leek produced in Urahoro, Chashu made with Hidaka whey pork and scrambled egg mixed with alpine leek. The mild miso soup matches very well with fluffy eggs.
▲Genki No Deru Miso Ramen DX is quite filling. You can adjust the amount of noodles.
Alpine leek is quite appealing in the center of the bowl. Those are picked all the amount needed in a year in Spring at vast mountains in Urahoro-Cho and freeze-storage.
This freezing process is not only suitable for preserving, but it has effects of reducing the smell without reducing nutrition.
The smell reduces even more by mixing with vitamin B included in pork and eggs and nutrition also raises.
The sweet flavor of alpine leek has not changed, but the iconic smell has been reduced.
Lots of stamina is gathered in this one bowl. The ramen is not only delicious, but it surely gave me some stamina!
“Sapporo Ramen Taxi” is planning to increase the number of drivers to 200 and ramen shops to 50 to introduce delicious ramen shops to more people.
I am very much anticipating this service will become a great service as a part of hospitality to people visiting Sapporo.
Find the yellow sticker!
Why don’t you get a ride and search for a delicious bowl of ramen?
Related LinksSapporo Ramen Taxi website
Sapporo Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Goshin Holdings Co., Ltd.
Text, photo / Hokkaido Likers writer Hiromi Watanabe