Kelowna - Ramen Arashi
Ramen, the soul food of Japan, is as ubiquitous as it is loved in its homeland. With over 32,000 ramen shops dotting the landscape, it's more than just a dish—it's a way of life. Unlike the occasional indulgence of sushi or tempura, ramen serves as a fast, affordable, and satisfying meal, filling stomachs and warming hearts.
Owner Ryota Okada's relationship with ramen goes back to his teenage years. At 15, he began working as a construction worker in Japan, a job that saw him tucking into bowls of ramen noodles almost twice a day. It might seem excessive, but it's a testament to the dish's popularity in Japan.
Balancing his construction work with running his own electrical construction business, Okada was a man of many talents. But a constant throughout his busy schedule was his love for ramen. His desire to learn English and explore new horizons eventually led him to Canada in 2019. His journey took an unexpected turn when he met Kentaro, the founder of Ramen Arashi. Tasting Kentaro's expertly crafted ramen was a revelation for Okada. He never expected to find such high-quality ramen in Canada, and it was a moment that changed the course of his life.
Enthralled by the taste and quality of Kentaro's ramen, Okada embarked on a three-year training program at Ramen Arashi's Canmore, AB location. This hands-on experience, combined with his love for ramen and entrepreneurial spirit, culminated in his decision to join Ramen Arashi as a franchisee. But Okada wasn't alone in this endeavor. His wife, a native of Fukuoka, also trained at the Canmore location for over three years. Her knowledge of ramen, particularly Tonkotsu Ramen—a specialty of her hometown—added another layer of authenticity to their venture.
Today, Ryota and his wife stand at the helm of their own Ramen Arashi outlet, serving bowls of piping hot ramen to the residents of Kelowna. Their journey is a testament to their passion for ramen and their commitment to sharing a piece of their culture with their new home. And in doing so, they have not only built a successful business but also enriched the culinary landscape of Kelowna.