Marunaka, the birthplace of Fujieda’s unique food culture, morning ramen

Signature dishes: chilled ramen (left) and Chinese soba (right)

Founded in 1919, Marunaka is a long-established ramen restaurant located near the Seto River along the former Tokaido road. It is a popular restaurant in the area, serving refreshing Chinese noodles and chilled ramen at reasonable prices.


Fujieda’s Unique Food Culture “Asa-Ra”

This restaurant is said to be the birthplace of “Asa-ramen”, and the current owner is the third generation.

“Asa-ramen” is short for ‘morning ramen,’ and literally means eating ramen in the morning. It is a part of Fujieda’s food culture, and there are many restaurants in the city that are open from morning until late afternoon and close in the evening.

The tea industry, which thrives in Fujieda, and the people involved in it often work early in the morning, and ramen is now served early in the morning to meet the demand for a meal after work or in between.

The restauraunt

The photo above shows the exterior of the restaurant. There is no sign, but the red curtain and tanuki figurine are landmarks. I had passed by it many times before my first visit and did not notice it.

The restaurant is always full of customers from the time it opens at 8:30 a.m. until it closes at 1:20 p.m.

When you enter the restaurant, you are greeted by a cheerful voice saying, “Irasshai-mase (Welcome)”.

You purchase a meal ticket from the ticket machine right at the entrance and take a seat. If you are having trouble finding a seat, don’t worry, the official website says it is OK to do so after you have taken your seat first.

Another nice point is that QR code payment is available while using the ticket vending machine.

Indication is as of April 2024.

The menu consists of Chinese noodles, chilled noodles, and chashu-men. All are reasonably priced, and you can add toppings as you like.

Chilled ramen from the original menu!?

Yes, what is chilling? It is.

Here, we have chilled ramen, which is one of the most popular menu items. It is different from chilled ramen, although you might make a mistake. There is no vinegar or sesame oil, which are characteristic of chilled ramen, and the soup is sweet and chilled with dashi broth. The same noodles as in chuka soba are placed in it and topped with wasabi (Japanese horseradish), making it a sweet yet refreshing dish.

Marunaka’s homemade noodles have a smooth surface, yet the thicker noodles are chewy and easy to eat while still being satisfying. The Japanese-style broth that accompanies the noodles is also low-oil and pleasant to eat.

The connoisseurs have two bowls of ramen, hot and chilled!?

There also seems to be a food culture in which Marunaka and other morning ramen stores in Fujieda City serve two bowls of ramen, hot and chilled.

Two bowls of ramen! As a middle-aged man, I hesitate a little, but I took the challenge for the sake of writing this article.

Two bowls of ramen!

Eating both alternately allowed me to appreciate the characteristics of each, and I was able to enjoy and finish the meal.

This time, I was served both ramen at the same time for the purpose of filming, but usually, after eating the warm ramen, customers are served the chilled ramen.

It seemed that about 20-30% of the customers, including men and young people, ate both. Women and the elderly could probably be satisfied with just one bowl of ramen.

A place you’ll want to go to easily.

The refreshing and healthy ramen is available at a reasonable price, which explains why there are so many regulars. You will want to come back again and again.

I was also impressed by how the waitstaff worked quickly and efficiently, helping each other even in the midst of a busy schedule, and how kindly they treated customers.

Restaurant Information

Name: Marunaka

Menu: Chinese soba (medium) 600 yen, chilled soba (medium) 700 yen, etc.

Business hours: 8:30-13:20 (last order), early closing available

Closed: Sundays, National holidays, 2nd and 4th Saturdays

Phone: +81-54-646-1516

Address: 3-1-24 Shida, Fujieda City, Shizuoka Prefecture

Parking: 8 spaces in front of the store, 12 spaces across the street (plenty of space)

There is no signboard for the restaurant, so it is best to use the signs of neighboring restaurants as landmarks.

Seating: 9 tables, 36 seats (including 3 tables with 12 seats in the tatami room).

Official website: Marunaka (external link)

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