Hamburg Special Places: Ramen Bar Zipang

There are not many good and authentic Japanese restaurants in Hamburg, so when I heard about the Ramen-Bar Zipang first, I was skeptical whether it would actually serve real ramen the way I knew it from Japan. I’ve had ramen in Hamburg before and they were incredibly disappointing. So, as per usual, I checked the place first on foursquare and it had great reviews.

One cold Saturday, my boyfriend and I decided it was finally time to try out the Ramen-Bar Zipang and see (or rather taste) if the reviews on foursquare were justified.

zipang pin

First of all, the Ramen-Bar Zipang doesn’t take any reservations. Once you enter, you are either seated if there are any free tables or you have to write your name on a list at the entrance and wait for the waiters to seat you. We waited around 30 minutes to get a table, something I wouldn’t usually do in Germany but I really wanted to try out the ramen here.

Once we were seated, I immediately checked the ramen menu to see what they offer. They have the usual shoyu, miso and shio ramen with a lot of variations. Note, though, that there are usually no vegetarian options for the ramen since the broth is already made of pork or chicken stock.

Of course, we started with edamame (green beans, boiled and salted) while waiting for our ramen. I admit that they were not as crunchy and crisp as I would have liked but then, it’s not easy to get them in Germany and I think, these were probably put into the freezer before boiling and serving them.

zipang 1

My boyfriend decided to go with the traditional shoyu ramen, with the tonkotsu (pork meat), fish cake and some greens. It’s a perfect winter dish (although I personally think that you can eat shoyu ramen anytime in the year!), warm and just the right amount of saltiness. The broth was simply perfect, the tonkotsu tender and the noodles firm and not soggy at all. Most importantly, these were not made from instant ramen noodles which I have been served in other places in Hamburg before but the ramen noodles used here are handmade!

This is quite uncommon in Germany because the noodles are more complicated to make and the Ramen-Bar Zipang even imported two machines to produce their own ramen.
zipang 2

I chose the Kara Miso Ramen, a dish they created especially for the German customers. It’s a hot chili ramen soup, with a hard-boiled egg, some sweet and spicy ground pork, tonkotsu and some greens. Holy cow, this is a hot dish! They offer this dish in three different spiciness levels and I had chosen the medium level. Even for someone like me who can’t live without adding chili to every meal, this was a spicy dish! So be careful if you choose this.

I loved the ground pork meat that was added here, it was just the right balance between sweet and spicy. The greens didn’t help with the spiciness at all, but overall I really enjoyed this dish. It’s great to find a Japanese restaurant in Hamburg which focuses on the authenticity of its dishes.

zipang 3
This was a great find and I can absolutely recommend it. The prices are not cheap but not expensive either, I think the basic ramen are about 10 €, that’s a fair price considering that the noodles are handmade and they take two full days to cook the broth to get it to develop the umami flavor needed for a real ramen soup.

You know what, just writing about this makes me hungry again!

zipang 4

If you are looking for other great places that I have visited in Hamburg, check out my Hamburg Special Places! Or maybe you have some new recommendations for me? Let me know!

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