Located in Tottori, Japan’s least-populated prefecture, Hot Air Ramen (formally named Tanreitori Ramen Hot Air) is the brainchild of Katsumi Yoshida, a mechanic and car salesman turned cook. In 2012, Yoshida, an amateur noodle enthusiast, added a tiny kitchen in an alcove of his small used-car dealership, placed some tables in the waiting room and began offering ramen to customers.
In 2015, he scaled down his auto shop and officially opened Hot Air Ramen to the public, so named for the famous hot springs in the area. And then last year, something rather unexpected happened: Hot Air Ramen was designated as a “Bib Gourmand” eatery (which designates a place that serves “exceptional good food at moderate prices”) in the Michelin Guide Kyoto – Osaka + Tottori 2019 edition.
Hannah Goldfield, the New Yorker’s food critic, answers the question.
For breakfast, head to the original location of Russ & Daughters, for a bagel sandwich. If you want to expand your horizons, get the Super Heebster—whitefish and baked-salmon salad with horseradish-dill cream cheese and wasabi flying-fish roe. If you’re feeling traditional, go for good ol’ cream cheese and Gaspe Nova smoked salmon. On an everything bagel, of course! Eat it on the street.
More at the New Yorker (paywall)