In Japan’s northernmost prefecture, people cook and restaurants serve one of Japan’s unique ramen varieties. It is none other than the Hokkaido butter ramen.
While many regional ramen dishes in Japan are known for their locally-sourced meat, seafood, or vegetables, Hokkaido stands out by incorporating its excellent dairy products into Japanese noodle dishes.
With Hokkaido's rich tradition of dairy farming and high-quality dairy products, it's no wonder locals have infused their beloved ramen with butter, resulting in a mouthwatering and creamy twist to the classic noodle dish.
Today, we’re going to discover what makes Hokkaido butter ramen amazing and what sets it apart from other ramen dishes.
The term Hokkaido butter ramen generally refers to miso ramen with a slice of butter melted in the soup. However, butter can also be added to other varieties such as shio ramen, which is salt based.
Hokkaido butter ramen is also called Sapporo ramen.
We need to know how miso ramen came to be before we delve into the history of butter ramen.
Miso ramen may have already crossed beyond Japanese borders to become one of the most popular ramen varieties, but it is believed to originate in Hokkaido during the mid-20th century.
Miso ramen's creation was accidental. In a popular account, the discovery took place at a restaurant called Aji no Sanpei in Sapporo. An inebriated customer made an unusual request to have noodles added to their miso soup. This was quite different from the customary way of serving ramen with a clear, soy sauce-based broth.
Aji no Sanpei embraced this creative idea and started using miso, which lent a wonderfully rich and savory flavor to their ramen. The unique taste quickly gained popularity and thus, miso ramen was born!
Hokkaido ramen marked a shift from the typical pork bone-based broth seen across the country. The credit for this flavorful twist goes to the innovative chef, Morito Ohmiya. He came up with this new version to make ramen less greasy.
In Hokkaido, where the climate is freezing and the winters are long, they have a way to combat the chilly weather. Butter became an excellent addition to the ramen recipe.
Topping the dish with butter not only creates a delicious flavor but also adds a touch of richness to the soup. This topping helps maintain the warmth of the dish for a longer period.
While miso ramen has gained popularity worldwide, Sapporo ramen distinguishes itself with the addition of a unique set of ingredients: sweet corn and butter.
Miso butter ramen is also known as Sapporo ramen or Hokkaido ramen. Toppings may include meat, seafood, veggies, or a mix of any of these ingredients. If you want to make your Sapporo-inspired ramen, see the quick recipe below.
Miso Butter Ramen Recipe
Use a pot or wok. Heat the olive oil then add the following:
Over medium heat, cook the meat until the pinkness is gone. Add the following ingredients and saute and stir frequently:
In Sapporo, you’re bound to see shops that serve not only miso ramen but also a creamy version of shio ramen. We say creamy because the chefs add locally made butter and cheese to the traditional ramen dish.
Did you know that you can cook shio butter ramen using instant noodles? Try this simple recipe by Sapporo Ichiban Ramen.
Cheesy and Buttery Sapporo Ichiban Ramen Recipe
There’s only one way to experience authentic butter ramen. Head to Sapporo and try the offerings of some of the best restaurants in the area. If you don’t know where to start, here are a couple of our recommendations.
This charming little shop has cozy seating for approximately 20 guests. Occasionally, you might find a small queue, but trust us, it's worth the wait! The menu offers a delightful range of delicious options, including mouthwatering choices like miso ramen and butter corn ramen as well as a selection of seafood dishes.
If it’s your first time in Sapporo, your safest bet is to try ramen in the most popular tourist spots. You’ll find Teshikaga Ramen in Ganso Ramen Yokocho, a small alley filled with ramen restaurants.
Its best seller is the Hokkaido Zenbu Nose Miso Ramen. And with the word “zenbu” (meaning everything) attached to its name, you can expect loads of ingredients from the dish. It brings together the finest flavors of Hokkaido, featuring corn, butter, snow crab, and succulent pork.
Why not try the restaurant that started it all? Head to Aji no Sanpei, which serves miso butter ramen for decades.
The restaurant has tons of ramen offerings. Its miso butter ramen bowl is a must-try, especially if you want to brave Hokkaido's cold winter.
Luckily, there is. If you don’t see yourself flying to Japan soon, but you want to try something close to the original, try New Touch’s Hokkaido Butter Ramen.
The soup incorporates Hokkaido miso. Its flavor is enhanced by the taste of veggies, pork, and of course, butter. It also features firm and smooth wheat noodles.
And if you want those delivered to your home, check out our unique Japanese ramen box!