Ebi Soba Ichi Gen hails from Sapporo, and it is one of the most popular ramen shops at the Chitose Airport ramen street area. That is not surprising since the ramen that they serve stands unique in a sea of classic Sapporo style miso ramen. I shall go right out and state that Ichi Gen serves the best shrimp ramen I have ever had in Japan. It is *that* good.
In terms of soup base, you choose between “sonomama” (lighter shrimp-only broth) or “ajiwai” (a thicker more flavorful blend of shrimp broth and tonkotsu soup). You then have the choice to flavor the soup with shio, shoyu or miso flavorings. They do not have much in terms of additional toppings. The standard noodles all come with half an egg, a generous slice of roast pork and red ginger bits deep fried till crispy. First timers should go for “sonomama shio”, but the “ajiwai miso” combination is definitely worth trying for those who like their ramen rich and flavorful.
The soup is made by boiling fresh shrimp head for many hours, and the shrimp heads are removed from the broth, drained of liquid and then fried in hot oil until they are crispy. The crisped shrimp heads are then blended into a fine paste and mixed with chili to be used as an umami boosting sauce topping on the ramen.
If you happen to visit Chitose Airport or if you find yourself in Sapporo, I highly recommend checking out Ichi Gen! Ichi Gen has also opened outlets in Tokyo in Shinjuku and the Lazona Shopping Mall in Kawasaki. If you love shrimp and ramen, you must pay this place a visit.