Wednesday, August 11, 2010

あっぱれ亭 Apparetei

Frequently we try to avoid the touristy spots in food especially, because they lack the higher quality and attention a home own shop attempts to maintain. Furthermore, they lack the atmosphere and warmth Ramen shops are so loved for, how these tiny shacks can produce such wonderful food with so little.

Apparetei then, is a paradox. It's big, it's in a tourism hole. And it stands out.

There is a Television Tower just at the end of "Oodori Park", a large strip of park down the center of Sapporo. This television tower is a local tourist trap, complete with pricey food and souvenirs.

Except for Apparetei. This restaurant is quite different.

Apparetei is located in the basement of this television tower. It has a 3.2/5 rating on Tabelog, which slightly makes sense, this is one of four locations in Hokkaido. The original shop is rated at 3.6/5, to put things in perspective. In this way it's not really Sapporo grown; a bit of bias may shoot out from this from reviewers.

Naturally then, like most tourism areas, the personality of the shop is fairly dismal. Bleak white walls, regular staff. A ticket machine, which is amazing for the tourist, but a little impersonal perhaps. But the shop holds a key ingredient that grants it spots in those guidebooks. It's landed in at least two.

That key is the 金ごまラーメン"Kingoma Ramen", the Gold Sesame Ramen.

Just looking at it we can tell something is rather unique about this bowl. It has amazing color, bright yellow with the subtle dots of red, and added green in the center. Despite the un-homely feel of the shop, this bowl is certainly inviting.

And of course, it tastes wonderful. The soup is complex and slightly rich, but not in the way many miso ramen soups taste. The sesame is home ground, and the shop prides itself on using local Hokkaido ingredients, which is always a plus. The pork is cut into bite size pieces of melt in your mouth perfection, mounded up in the center. Slight bit of sweet chili oil accents the richness and adds a bit more depth to the soup. The noodles are cooked well, chewy and medium thickness, and they hold up well to the soup.

I was perplexed by why the ratings for this restaurant were so low. But reading a few of them makes this clear; most people don't try the Gold Sesame Ramen.

Ah... I see.

There's a reason the guidebooks recommended the gold sesame ramen first. It's unique and absolutely delicious, and it's the must try dish of the shop. 

For those in Oodori, this is likely your best bet for Ramen. It's unique, delicious, and certainly satisfying. If you're in the television tower overlooking the city, then this is easily the best choice for your culinary desires. Though the shop look itself is a little lackluster, the food leaves quite the impression.

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11:00am - 9:00 pm


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