Canal City in the centre of Fukuoka is a shopping mall of American proportions. Like every self-respecting mall it has a cinema complex, next door to which, as may be expected, is a series of fast food restaurants. The difference at Canal City is that they sell nothing but ramen. There are eight of them. It’s called the ramen stadium. These ramen restaurants, like many elsewhere, are a little daunting to the westerner, as you have to pay in advance using a ticket machine whose instructions are in Japanese. But you can’t go far wrong and whatever you get, even if it’s not quite what you expected, will be far better than any ramen you’ve had in England. The ramen in the photo is shiromaru classic ramen with extra-thin noodles made from a blend of two varieties of wheat called Kaze and Ra-mugi from Fukuoka, served with thinly sliced pork, chopped shallots and cabbage, together with bite-sized Gyozo (dumplings) which are crisp on the outside. It’s clear that the owners took great pride in the source and the quality of their ingredients. The bowl of ramen cost 680 yen, or £4.15, which is almost exactly one third of the cost of a similar, but vastly inferior, dish served at a branch of the Wagamama ramen chain in Manchester.