Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tokyo shio tsukemen contest

After five shio tsukemen tried in the last few days, it was time to reach some verdict.

Hirugao and Touka had a relatively classical broth, whereas it was more cloudy at Ikeda, and fatter at Momonoki. But what interested me in a first place was how much taste could be transfered from the broth to the noodles - a challenge for any shio tsukemen! On this criterion, Oborozuki was the champion. However, Ikeda must be praised for its very interesting alchemy of texture between noodles and broth.

None of the bowls had a very remarkable meat, although the pork at Momonoki was interestingly different, but of uneven quality and overabundant.

In terms of toppings, the use of aburaage at Momonoki and rice krispies at Toka were quite interesting. Oborozuki and Toka definitely scored points to for their use of yuzukoshio.

The wari soup was very well crafted at Toka, quite original at Momonoki with the soba yu, and good too at Oborozuki.

Finally, the atmosphere was special at both Momonoki (with its women cook, relaxed atmosphere and unusual soba yu pot) and Toka (because of its minimalism).

Overall, though, Oborozuki and Toka were my two favorites, whereas Hirugao might have the less interesting dish, and Momonoki the less healthy. But they are all worth trying. I wish I had more time (and stomach strength!) to add Mendokoro Ginzasa and Matoi’s shio tuskemen to the comparison. Some day… some day...

Oborozuki (Tōkyō-to, Shinagawa-ku)

銀座 朧月(目黒処)
ぎんざ おぼろづき
Ginza Oborozuki

Shio tsukemen: 16 / 20
Chūka soba kiwami: 17 / 20
(中華そば 極み)

To finish my Tokyo-shio-tsukemen run, what other place to go than one of my favorite tsukemen restaurant: Ginza Oborozuki (see my former reviews here and there) - this time at the Meguro branch. I ordered the shio tsukemen (obviously), and my friend the chuka soba. Let's start with the former.

Broth: It had a strong herbal taste, and uncommonly, contained octopus and cokles. Despite not being so fat and adhering little to the noodles, it transferred a decent amount of taste to them.

Noodles: Thick, wich a kind of square-ish section, very mochi mochi.

Meat: Some slabs of meting chashu, not bad.

Toppings: Some thin rectangular menma, mild, salty and very soft. And here again as in Toka, the key ingredient is the yuzu koshio. You also get a sudachi that you can press in the broth for some zing. Finally, there were two sheets of nori (not the gigantic one I had in the mother shop, alas), which harmonized very well with the broth.

Soup wari: It brought some more herbal taste, and even a kind of buttery texture.

No surprise here, it was very similar to the one I tried in the Ginza-mother shop. But let's turn to what was the real novelty of the day, the chuka soba. This is a limited edition (gentei / 限定) from this shop, and as the waiter was bringing us the dish, the smell reminded me of something...

Broth: A strong niboshi shoyu broth, with a kind of pungent and roasted taste enhanced by square onion bits. Hmm, I’ve seen that somewhere else...

Noodles: Very yellow and a bit too soft for my taste.

Meat: Two small slices of a quite good chashu - very firm, this fits with my impression of déjà-vu...

Egg: Half a very well cooked egg, on the hard side.

Toppings: Some menma and nori sheets, the same as in the shio tsukemen - what a beautiful harmony between those nori and the roasty broth...

...and then, the illumination came: of course, this bowl is a copycat of Nagi's ramen! All the key components are present: the roasted niboshi-shoyu broth, the squared negi (although a bit less punchy than at Nagi), the firm meat… There are some minor changes, but Nagi's soul is there. Well, Nagi's ramen is a wonderful bowl, one of my favorite in Japan, so one cannot get really wrong by copying it. But I would recommend to go to the original - even more perfect, and in a great setting! - rather than to the copy...

More info on ramendb.

Tōka (Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku-ku)

塩つけ麺 灯花
しおつけめん とうか
Shio Tsukemen Touka

Shio tsukemen: 16 / 20

As I was making my way towards Toka, I was a bit concerned to eat another shio tsukemen three hours after my first of the day, and five hours before the last... thus, I was happy when I arrived to discover that you could choose your tsukemen in all variations, including a very simple version without chashu and egg. That’s what I need for now!

Broth: A salty broth that tastes like chicken, less fatty than at Momonoki. I cannot say it gave a tremendous amount of taste to the noodles though.

Noodles: Pleasant noodles, less curly and maybe harder than at Momonoki.

Meat: I ordered the version without meat, but there were two small slices of chashu in the broth, relatively firm and salty, not unpleasant.

Toppings: The noodles were sprinkled with stripes of nori, which gave a nice twist to the mix of noodles and broth. Some thin and salty menma. And finally, the touch that made all the difference: some yuzu koshio (kind of spicy yuzu paste) on the side of the noodles-bowl, that you can put on your noodles after you dipped them in the broth. Delicious!

Soup wari: A very well crafted soup wari gave a more cloudy, starchy structure to the bowl (feels kind of like they had added some potato flour), with the addition of some kind of ‘rice krispies’ (that remained crispy even in the soup!).

The base of this dish was very essentialized, but had many little twists that made it worthwhile of attention. The yuzukoshio was a great addition for sure - seriously, it must have been the greatest invention of humanity since the wheel (I cannot say 'sliced bread' - seriously, who wants to buy his bread already sliced?)... It really gave the extra punch that sometimes lack in shio tsukemen.

If you are on a diet and want ramen, that may be a good place to go. As a note, this ramen joint must be the smallest one I’ve ever been to: five seats around the counter, that’s it - and you barely have any room to slide the door behind you when you want to leave. But it was a convivial configuration, and the choregraphy of the chef preparing meticulously the ingredients of each bowl made a great show.

More info on ramendb.

Momonoki (Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku-ku)

小麦と肉 桃の木
こむぎとにく もものき
Komugi to Niku Momo no Ki

Shio tsukemen: 14 / 20

The north of Shinjuku Gyoen was a strategically location for my shio-tsukemen run, with two shops in the area famous for their shio tsukemen - Momonoki and Tuka. I entered into the former shortly after it opened. Momonoki is an interesting ramen restaurant held by two women – something I’ve never seen so far in Japan! The ‘bulgari ramen’ with yoghurt (of which they have only fifteen dishes every day) was tempting, but I had a mission here, a shio-tsukemen mission.

Broth: A slightly fat broth, flavored with yuzu. It did not provide such a strong taste to the noodles, alas.

Noodles: A large 300g portion of curly-tagliatelle-like noodles, the kind of noodles that definitely seems to be associated with shio tsukemen, as it looks from my recent experience at Zyurumen Ikeda and Hirugao (but this shop was formerly a branch of Hirugao, if I believe Ramen Tokyo, so this makes sense). Not very firm but OK. You can order them as atsumori (hot). Unfortunately you cannot chose how much noodles you want, and the default portion comes with 300g, which was way too much for me (I had some more shio tsukemen to sample during the day, remember?).

Meat: Quite unusually, it featured many, many thin slices of fatty pork: some were standard, some excellent and savory, and some just too fat for my taste. But overall, this was way overabundant and I had to leave some of it untouched - half the quantity would have been largely enough.

Toppings: Some interesting and rare aburaage (fried tofu) topping here - never seen that on a ramen before. Some long white negi too.

Soup wari: You can order ‘soba yu’ (the water in which they cook the noodles, I guess) instead of the classical soup wari, a relatively thick and cloudy juice that brings a really interesting new twist.

This bowl was a bit unequal, but definitely an original experience though, for many reasons - I mean, shio tsukemen is already a rather uncommon dish, so when it is made by women (in a usually overwhelmingly men's world), topped with fatty pork slices and aburaage, and with a yu-soba soup wari, it becomes truly unique.

More info on ramendb.

Other review: Ramen Adventures, Go Ramen!, Ramen Tokyo

Monday, December 8, 2014

Matoi (Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku)

新橋 纏
しんばし まとい
Shinbashi Matoi

Nōkō Niwatori tsukemen : 18 / 20 

So it was decided, I wanted to try some shio tsukemen. Going back to Mendokoro Ginzasa, where I had an excellent shio ramen last time, sounded like a good idea... but damn, this place is hard to find! And when we finally arrived there at 19:50 with my friend, they had run out of soup... For a shop that closes at 22:00, that’s early – it’s definitely more advisable to go there for lunch. Anyway, here we are on our way back to Shimbashi, for my original plan – going to Matoi. Last time I had the niboshi ramen and was not fully convinced, but the great reviews convinced me to give it another chance for their shio tsukemen. Except… that their shio tsukemen was over when we arrived. That's not my lucky day, was I thinking, as I ordered their torigara tsukemen. I was wrong.

Broth: Wow, that’s smooth. And tasty. Hmm, rings a bell… I know, Fuunji! Of course: both use a chicken-bones broth, which bring this delicious sweetness. I may not be a fan of Kyoto-style chicken ramen, but for Tokyo-style chicken tsukemen, count me in at any time. As usual, the soup wari brought some gyokai (fishy) twist; it was even sprinkled with a few yuzu bits, but their taste was hardly discernible – except when you would bit on one of those.

Noodles: Thick and eggy, perfect tsukemen-noodles.

Meat: Ah, now we’re talking! Last time, I had a big slice of very average and over-fatty chashu in the niboshi ramen. Here, you get the usual cubes of chashu, and my god, that may have been the best chashu cubes I've ever eaten - melting in the mouth, and simply excellent. You also get some bits of quite regular chicken.

Toppings: Some thin, soft menma with a sweetish, classical taste.

Last time I was at Matoi, I was surprised to find a relatively unexceptional dish. Now, this one definitely made up for the former one. But make sure NOT to order any extra chashu, as it looks from the picture that it is the same average one as the one I got in the niboshi ramen last time. Anyway, this dish definitely ranks among the best tsukemen of the capital city.

More info on ramendb.

Other review: Ii Tokoro Ne

AFURI (Tōkyō-to, Meguro-ku)

AFURI (Nakameguro-ten)

Yuzu shio ramen: 13 / 20 

I had been thinking for some time of contacting the two currently most active English-speaking ramen-bloggers in Japan, and I finally put myself to do it, sending emails to Brian from Ramen Adventures and Ben from Friends in Ramen. Both answered me quickly, and my new trip to Tokyo was a good occasion to eat some ramen with Brian. He had plans to go to the new Usagi shokudo, but it was closed on Monday, so we switched to nearby AFURI. I had been there some time ago, but was curious to try it again, in order to complete my current shio experience - although they unfortunately did not have a shio tsukemen (only a shoyu one). I ordered the classical yuzu shio ramen, in its assari, "Tanrei" version (you can also order a thicker "Maroaji" version), and Brian some special winter miso bowl.

Broth: Very simple, and the taste of yuzu, despite being the trademark of the shop, was rather subdued – weaker than at Hirugao!

Noodles: They quickly became too soft.

Chashu: Firm with some tasty fat (which could be more melting though), a good chashu overall.

Egg: Half of an egg with a very soft white and a nicely cooked yolk.

Toppings: The menma were thin, small, crunchy and extremely mild – might they be non-fermented bamboo shoots? The sheet of nori became quickly too soaked. They were also some mizuna, very light in taste.

Maybe I was a bit unlucky with my ramen on this day and the cook missed something in the dosage - in my memory (about eight months ago), it had a stronger yuzu taste. This bowl was not unpleasant but relatively standard, and saved by its relatively good chashu and egg. It would deserve a 14/20 with more yuzu or harder noodles, and a 15/20 with both, but you can find many better choices of shio ramen around Tokyo - like Shunmen Shirohachi, Hyottoko, Mendokoro Ginzasa or Menya Sou (review to come!). Brian's miso ramen was apparently not so tasty.

Anyway, we went to a cafe thereafter and had a great talk about ramen and philosophy - two of my passions in life, it case you didn't get it from the title of this blog. Was good to finally meet Brian, this guy is a real living ramen-encyclopedia!

More info on ramendb.

Other reviews: Ramen Adventures (new), Ramen Adventures (old), Ramenate, Ramen Love, Chubby Hubby, Gastrolust, Ramen Walker, Tokyo Belly, No Ramen No Life, Eataku, Do you even eat, Ramen Tokyo

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Zyurumen Ikeda (Tōkyō-to, Meguro-ku)

づゅる麺 池田
Zyurumen Ikeda

Shio tsukemen: 15 / 20
[Shoyu] tsukemen: 14 / 20

My shio tsukemen comparison project brought me to Zyurumen Ikeda in Meguro. I ordered the shio tsukemen with ajitama, my friend the shoyu tsukemen, and we shared three gyozas. While waiting, you can learn from some explanation sheet above the counter that their broth is made of chicken, vegetable, bonito and samma - and they use apparently organic ingredients, in case that matters for you. They also make their own noodles, a different kind for each dish. Here comes the shio tsukemen:

Broth: A cloudy broth with some special taste, thicker than a classical shio broth (although not very thick); it coated very nicely the noodles and made them remarkably slippery - a very interesting consistency. Not the best broth you'll find around but good enough. The soup wari at the end pushed it on the gyokai side, although it was still too concentrated and undrinkable.

Noodles: Kind of tagliatelle-like, flat and curly, very similar to the ones I had the day before at Hirugao.

Meat: Some bits of very regular chicken in the soup.

Egg: Excellent, in a classical way.

Toppings: Some thin and long menma that had a surprisingly mushroom-like softness. Some crunchy cabbage. A small bit of lemon that you can press to add some zing.

The alchemy between the noodles and the broth was remarkable, and for this reason, this ramen must be recommended.

The shoyu tsukemen was a bit less to my taste. The noodles were more spaghetti-like (and cut into pieces! if you're Italian, try not to faint, please...), and the broth sticked less harmoniously to them, but otherwise it had the same chicken, cabbage and final twist with the soup wari. Still good though.

Oh and I'm no expert in gyoza, but I was not especially impressed by their taste, despite their elegance.

More info on ramendb.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hirugao (Tōkyō-to, Ōta-ku)

塩らーめん専門 ひるがお (大岡山店)
しおらーめんせんもん ひるがお
Shio Ramen Senmon Hirugao (Oookayama ten)

Shio ramen: 15 / 20

Shio tsukemen: 14 / 20

A branch of Hirugao in the relatively remote area of Okayama station, that's an unexpected discovery! Ten minutes west of Meguro by train, Okayama station is located just next a campus of Tokyo Tech University, which probably explains the relatively high number of ramen shops around. Hirugao had always been a bit special for me, as it is the first restaurant (at the Tokyo ramen street branch) where I tried shio tsukemen, four years ago, a dish that had always puzzled me (how can you dip noodles in a clear broth?). This time, though, I went with their more classical shio ramen.

Broth: Simple and elegant, with just enough fattiness and a hint of yuzu. It concentrates nicely the taste of all ingredients - although I could not recognize the niboshi in it.

Noodles: Straight and firm enough.

Meat: A thin slice of chashu, relatively lean and very firm, with some crunchy fat inside and a caramelized taste - not the kind of soft, fatty chashu I usually prefer, but very decent though.

Toppings: Some relatively thin menma with, surprisingly, a taste of braised meat. And some viscous seaweed for an interesting twist.

Like many shio ramen, this is a simple bowl, but I appreciated its subtle simplicity. Kind of similar in terms of quality to Ryukishin in Kyoto (and in Kansai airport). If you are on a diet or care a bit about your health, you should consider this bowl.

The day after, I came back to try their shio tsukemen:

Broth: The broth in itself had a quite intense (and salty) taste, and it coated nicely the noodles, but still, not enough taste could be transfered to them. The soup wari at the end brought some fishy twist – and was quite different from the more meaty and umami shio ramen broth.

Noodles: Quite peculiar: slightly curly noodles with a relatively soft and starchy out part, but a relatively firm inner core.

Meat: A few pieces of firm chashu, with hard fat - it had a pleasant, slightly braised taste.

Egg: Two halves of an egg, but it didn't look like an ajitama as far as I can see (the outer part was very white, so there is no sign that it had been marinated). Well cooked, with a gooey yellow.

Toppings: Some long, thin crunchy menma with a mild, salty taste. Some scallops in the soup, a quite nice addition.

Overall, this was a pleasant dish but it did not convince me that shio tsukemen could be something special. Therefore, I put myself on a mission: try the best shio tsukemen of the capital city in the next few days, to see if there could be anything interesting with this uncommon dish! More info on this soon...

More info on ramendb.

Other reviews: Friends in Ramen, Ramen Adventures, Gastrolust, Enjoyramen

Hanada (Tōkyō-to, Toshima-ku)

麺処 花田めんどころ はなだ
めんどころ はなだ
Mendokoro Hanada

Miso ramen (yasai-mashi, ninniku): 14 / 20
(ラーメン, 野菜増量・生ニンニク)

Arriving at Ikebukuro in Tokyo with the night bus from Osaka, this was a perfect opportunity to continue my discovery of the ramen of the area, after last time's visits to King Kong and Tokyo Underground Ramen Ganja. After a couple of hours working from a Starbucks, I arrived at 10:50 in front of Hanada, a well-ranked ramen joint in the area which specializes in miso ramen. Don't mistake Hanada with Hanada tonari, the sister shop, as I first did! The latter specializes in abura soba and mazemen, and it's not sure that they are as much recommendable. Once in the shop, I ordered the miso ramen, yasai-mashi (added vegetables), ninniku-mashi (added garlic). While I was waiting, I could watch the impressive show of the cook frying the bean sprouts in large flames. Finally, my bowl arrived, with a small portion of rice (which I had explicitly said I did not want - I guess I have to work more on my nihon-go).

Broth: A very creamy miso that feels more like a sauce than like a soup. With the added garlic, it was excellent. In particular, it did not have this strong after-taste that many miso broth have too often (in a first place, the renown Kururi).

Noodles: Relatively thick and yellow for ramen-noodles, they were not as curly as the ones you would find in a classical Hokkaido-style miso ramen. Not so firm, but OK.

Meat: A slice of chashu, crumbly at places and firm at others, with a more meaty taste than most chashu.

Toppings: A lot of stir-fried bean sprouts, good but a bit overcooked for my taste, as well as some cabbage. Some (too soft!) menma with a very strong taste.

Side-dish: As I said, I also got a small bowl of rice, a good way to finish your sauce/soup.

I have mixed feelings about this bowl. The soup was really good, but the whole combination not really optimal, and the ramendb ranking seems a bit overrated to me. Maybe I’m not a big fan of miso ramen after all (I always find something I don’t like). But anyway, it was overall a good ramen, and you should not miss it if you love miso ramen. Note that the whole thing, mixed with the bean sprout and the thick soup, was quite difficult to slurp (especially if you don’t want to stain your nice suit), and very voluminous - come here hungry!

More info on ramendb.

Other reviews: Tokyobelly, Enjoyramen, Ramentokyo, Ryusuke

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Marusho (Osaka-fu, Toyonaka-shi)

Menya Marushou

Taiwan mazesoba: 17 / 20 

And here I am again in one of my Northern Osaka favorites, Marusho. It was time to try their mazesoba - which I had eaten in its summer, cold version - in its original, hot version.

Sauce: A very tasty, relatively spicy, and unfortunately too salty sauce.

Noodles: They had the perfect firmness.

Meat: You have to taste the ground minced meat before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients, to discover the richness of the spices. Sublime.

Egg: A raw egg, which fits perfectly well here.

Toppings: The same kind of toppings as in the cold version - minus the tomato: small nori squares, white negi, green negi - and the oh-so-subtle goma-flavored cubes (here again, taste one before mixing it with the rest, as the sauce might slightly overpower its taste).

As with the cold version, you get some rice to mix with the remainder of the sauce, for a very convincing after-experience. This mix is simple but sublime, and might even deserve in my opinion a special trip to Osaka’s northern suburbs.

More info on ramendb.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fusuma ni Kakero (Osaka-shi, Kita-ku)

麬にかけろ 中崎壱丁 中崎商店
ふすまにかけろ なかざきいっちょう なかざきしょうてんがい
Fusuma ni Kakero Nakazaki Ichou Nakazaki Shoutengai

SCS ramen (with ajitama): 18 / 20

Located close to Nakazakicho station, this restaurant has always at least a few people queuing in front. I would soon realize that this was justified. Inside, the atmosphere is quite pleasant, with a two-tier counter in the middle of which the waiter can bring the dishes, and some fresh jasmine tea to wait for your dish. They usually feature a shio and shoyu ramen, but on this day, they only had one option: a special ebi (shrimp)-flavored, kotteri (thick) tori paitan (chicken ramen), with the intriguing name of ’SCS'. Let’s try it, with ajitama.

Broth: Shrimp it tastes indeed! Don’t think about ordering it if you don’t like it. The chicken taste was relatively subdued, but this broth was delightful. Also, I must say that it was not too thick, contrarily to some very kotteri chicken Kyoto-style broth (who said Gokkei?).

Noodles: Thin and firm, relatively similar to the ones you would find in a Hakata tonkotsu ramen.

Meat: Two very beautiful lean, pink slices of meat, which were simply delicious, tender and full of flavor.

Egg: A very well cooked ajitama, with a slightly sweet white part and a firm-but-gooey yellow.

Toppings: This bowl was a wonder of toppings: some ‘rice krispies’ nicely soaked the broth and brought some additional thickness. There was also some finely shredded seaweed that brought a delicious marine twist. And in case there is not enough ‘ebi-ness’ in your broth, you can even add some shrimp oil with an intriguing syringe system.

This was simply perfect. The shrimp taste may be a little bit too overpowering for my personal taste, but I found it excellent all along. Best ramen I've tried in Osaka so far - and that’s someone who is usually not a big fan of tori paitan who says that. I don’t know how often they serve this special though, it may have been a limited offer. Don't worry, their regular ramen are also delicious (reviews soon to come!)

More info on ramendb.

Other review: Friends in Ramen (for the shoyu ramen), Japan Times.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Shinpuku Saikan (Kyōto-shi, Sakyō-ku)


Chuka soba: 13 / 20

Chuka soba, without meat: 14 / 20
(中華そば 肉なし)

Although Kyoto station is especially famous for its ramen street ("Kyoto Ramen Koji") on the 10th floor, the ‘real’ afficionados know that the appeal of the area does not come from the sometimes-average ramen restaurants in this ramen street, but a couple of hundred meters east from the station, where two monuments of Kyoto ramen history stand exactly door to door: Shinpukusaikan and Honke Daiichi Asahi.

As we arrived there with my friend, there was a long queue in front of the latter, so we chose the former, a big room with a very canteen-feel. They serve only one kind of dark-shoyu ramen, that you can order with (or without) various toppings - as well as in a large version, and with additional meat. I was pleasantly surprised to see a version without any meat, which I ordered (with additional menma); my friend ordered the regular version.

Broth: A relatively intense shoyu broth, which was pleasant even for a non-shoyu-lover like me.

Noodles: Yellow and relatively firm at first, they got soft relatively quickly though - which is, I guess, what is required for a Kyoto ramen.

Meat: I tasted the meat in my friend's bowl, and I was very happy I didn't ordered any in mine: the slices were thin and tasteless.

Toppings: The menma were soft and mild, but relatively pleasant. Lots of negi, which for once seemed especially tasteful.

Overall, a relatively pleasant bowl, but nothing exceptional. There is definitely a feel of 'Showa era' authenticity in this bowl though: a simple, intense shoyu ramen in a canteen where regulars come and go. It is worth going there for the experience - actuallly, it seems that this was the first ramen shop in Kyoto that opened after World War 2. But I strongly recommend ordering the meatless version.

More info on ramendb.

Other reviews: Ramen Adventures, Friends in Ramen, The Piggly Wiggly travels

Daikoku (Kyōto-shi, Fushimi-ku)

Daikoku Ramen

Ramen: 12 / 20 

Two ramen shops have quite good grades near Fushimi-Momoyama, in south Kyoto: Daichou and Daikoku. Daichou was slightly better ranked, but unfortunately five people were queuing in front, and I had only twenty minutes to swallow quickly some ramen, before meeting my friend to chase some momiji. Thus I switched to Daikoku, a simple, local restaurant with not much choice - one kind of ramen, with more or less toppings. I ordered, well, the ramen.

Broth: I guess it was a tonkotsu-shoyu broth, decent but very conventional.

Noodles: A bit soft.

Meat: A few thin slices of a decent-if-slightly-unremarkable chashu.

Toppings: Some moyashi and negi. You can order some menma for 50 yens.

Overall, it might be better than the average ramen you would find out there, but for me it is clearly over-rated on ramendb. No necessity to stop there. I would rather try my luck at Daichou, or go to the EXCELLENT Kirari a few hundreds of meters from here (stay tuned - review to come!).

More info on ramendb.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Miyoshi (Kyōto-shi, Nakagyō-ku)

博多長浜らーめん みよし
はかたながはまらーめん みよし
Hakata Nagahama Ramen Miyoshi

Ramen: 14 / 20

Right in the centre of distinctive and elegant Kyoto, this ramen joint has a resolutely unique feel, purely Hakata yatai atsmophere. Half open onto the street, you will often see people queuing in front of this small restaurant with narrow seats, that serves only one kind of tonkotsu ramen, with various garnishes. I ordered the regular version.

Broth: Ah, the delicious smell of Hakata tonkotsu! Not too thick, smooth, it seemed to me slightly more sweetish than the classical Hakata ramen though (but I'm no expert in Hakata ramen, so it's difficult to tell), with some notes that reminded me a bit of a corn soup.

Noodles: Surprisingly for a Hakata ramen place, the default noodles cooking style was not katame - so if you like them so, make sure to explicitly order them that way.

Meat: Some thin, average chashu bits with too fatty part, which do not bring anything to the dish. The best part of them was the brown outer side.

Toppings: The menma were both spicy and sweet, very good. And like at any respectable Hakata ramen place, you can help yourself with ginger and flakes - but they were old and too soft.

A very local place with a great atmosphere - a bit too local I thought, when I saw the cook taking the money and then cooking without washing her hands… Several components (meat, flakes, noodles) were very average, but the delicious broth and the unique atmosphere push it to a 14. Plus, it’s cheap and open till 6 am.

More info on ramendb.

Other reviews: Ramenate, Ramen Adventures, Umamiart

Gokkei (Kyōto-shi, Sakyō-ku)

Menya Gokkei
麺屋 極鶏
めんや ごっけい

Niwatoridaku: 15 / 20 

This place has opened only a few years ago but it is already a myth. On three occasions already I thought of going there, and three times I stumbled on a one hour-long line. How would it be at 11:30 (the opening time) on a rainy weekday? You guessed it: a one hour-long line. I won’t come back to Ichijoji before a while, so I thought that whatever the time it takes, I’ll be waiting. One hour letter, I seat in front of my tori-ramen, with ajitama.

Broth: Imagine a three liters-recipient full of chicken bones that you would let boil until absolutely no water remains. That’s about how this broth feels. Actually, it should be called a 'sauce' rather than a 'broth'. If you were looking for the graal of kotteri-ness, don’t search anymore, here it is - although, I must say, the honour may be shared with Muttepo. I’m not a big fan of ultra-kotteri rame, but I must say that this one kind of reconciliated me with the style. At some point, I had the impression I was nearly munching crunchy bones.

Noodles: Quite soft, as they should be in a Kyoto-style ramen. Unfortunately, I’m not very fan of soft nodles. They were also a bit difficult to untangle from each other.

Meat: Some average chashu that falls into parts.

Egg: Well-cooked, gooey on the hard side; however, it did not fit with the whole thing and I don’t recommend ordering it (and the soup alone is heavy enough!).

Toppings: Some slabs of menma, with a very unified (rather than fibrous) texture, crunchy and mild.

Eight minutes after I started my dish, I’m hurrying out of the shop to let other hungry ramen-addicts enter. I would say there was at least 1h15 minutes queue at this point.

I’m going to make enemies here by giving it ‘only’ a 15 / 20 (which is actually a pretty good grade). I can easily imagine that kotteri-fan could give it a 20 / 20. Fine for me, but I’m not into soft noodles and thick broth. Despite this, the experience was quite pleasant. I wish I would have ordered it in the black version though (with some roasted garlic liquid), I may have liked it even better (you can also order a red – spicy version, or a fish-version, which, I imagine, must be totally different?) Also, the restaurant has a quite pleasant atmosphere, with its short counter, one regular table, and one floor-table. And overall, this was a much better experience in my memory than the nearby Tentenyu, which also specializes in Kyoto-style ramen.

More info on ramendb.

Other links: Reina Loves eating

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sandaime Miyatamenji (Osaka-shi, Chūō-ku)

三代目 宮田麺児
さんだいめ みやためんじ
Sandaime Miyatamenji

T2G tsukemen: 15 / 20

I hadn’t noticed before this low-key tsukemen restaurant near Shinsaibashi, but this was a mistake. The place occupates two floors of a building, with the kitchen and a counter on the first floor, and the main dining room on the second floor. Pleasant lounge music, lots of couples – looks like the perfect ramen-date place. I ordered the first tsukemen on the menu.

Broth: A very thick veggie broth (the base seems to be tonkotsu gyokai), that sticks exceptionally well to the noodles – last time I saw such a thick smoothness was probably at Fuunji in Tokyo! (with a very different broth) I didn’t have time to ask for the soup wari, so I just drunk my soup like that - it felt like a thick countryside soup.

Noodles: Relatively soft, but very good though.

Egg: Half of a quite hard, but good egg.

Toppings: A few crunchy, mild and sweetish menma. A couple of tomato slice.

Overall, it was a very convincing mix, a bit like Watanabe Seimen in Kyoto and Toyonaka. I’ll have to try their other specialties, the KK100 and the TM3 (seriously, what do they smoke to find inspiration in naming their ramen, the same stuff as they do in IKR51?)

More info on ramendb.

The shop's website.

For a review of the first Myata Menji (now gone): Friends in Ramen

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Takakura Nijo (Kyōto-shi, Nakagyō-ku)

麺や 高倉二条
めんや たかくらにじょう
Menya Takakura Nijou

Ramen (yuzu noodles) with ajitama: 19 / 20

The adventure at Takakura Nijo starts before entering, right in the queue, when you smell the delicious scent escaping from the aircon system. As I entered, I had a strong impression of déjà-vu: those golden teapots… this atmospheric lounge music… those two kind of noodles (yuzu and regular)… Of course, it is a Sugari-lookalike! The atmosphere is a bit less fancy here, but they indeed belong to the same chain. I ordered the ramen with ajitama, and chose the yuzu noodles.

Broth: An excellent tonkotsu gyoukai broth, relatively thin but intense in taste, without being overwhelming, on the sour side. Delightful and original at the same time.

Noodles: Absolutely delicious yuzu noodles. They were slightly on the soft side, but despite my addiction to barikata noodles, I loved them.

Meat: One slice of braised chashu, perfectly balanced, firm enough but with just what is should have of melting fat, and a powerful - but not overwhelming - taste.

Egg: A very well cooked ajitama, on the hard side, which fits perfectly well with the rest.

Toppings: One thick, fibrous, firm menma with a very balanced mild, salty taste. A cherry tomato with a pickled taste.

You can also help yourself with some sanshou (japanese pepper), and some garam masala that for some reason tasted like cinnamon and fits DIVINELY well with the broth.

Let me put it shortly: this is the most perfectly crafted ramen I ever ate in my life. Period. They even beat their brother Sugari by having a better cooked egg (although you may prefer Sugari if you're more into motsu than into chashu). I don’t see how this bowl could get any better - except maybe by moving to the even more atmospheric Sugari. Obviously, this is subjective, you may not like this kind of broth and find it too sour. But for me, this is perfection made ramen. I’ll keep the 20/20 rating for the day some ramen will fall from heaven on Earth. But this one may as well have been.

More info on ramendb.

The list of all the shops.

Other review: Go Ramen!

Shinjuku Menya Fuka (Kyōto-shi, Shimogyō-ku)

新宿めんや 風花 (本店)
Shinjuku Menya Fuuka (Honten)

Yasai shio ramen: 14 / 20

This restaurant south of Karasuma station in Kyoto specializes in shio ramen of different kinds. I noticed they had a purely vegetable version of shio ramen, which was a welcome healthy suggestion after all the ramen I had been eating lately.

Broth: A good shio broth, with a very hot, fatty upper layer - beware!

Noodles: A little bit curly, and slightly too soft for my taste.

Toppings: Lots of various tasty braised vegetables.

Not much to say here, but a good ramen, that would be perfect for a flexitarian (some bones must surely be used to make the broth, but the bowl does not include any meat or eggs).

More info on ramendb.

The shop's website.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ramenman (Osaka-shi, Chūō-ku)

ラーメン専門店 ラーメンマン
らーめんせんもんてん らーめんまん
Ramen Senmonten Ramenman

Ramenman: 12 / 20

Finding a ramen after 9 pm can become significantly more difficult. Several looked tempting on my ramendb app, but they were all closed at that time. I finally found a not-too-lowly ranked ramen; let’s try it. I ordered the signature dish of the shop, the ramenman.

Broth: A tasty, spicy broth with a Korean twist.

Noodles: Too soft.

Meat: Nothing exceptional but melting enough.

If you need a ramen after 9 pm in this area, you may consider this place. But I would not recommend it otherwise, although the shop with its toothless owner definitely has some atmosphere (if some day I want to shoot a movie about a very local ramen joint, I will go there).

More info on ramendb.

Kappa (Osaka-fu, Minoh-shi)

Kappa Ramen Honba

Black tonkotsu ramen: 11 / 20

After Kieiken, another ramen shop located on the road 171 which passes north of Osaka University's Suita campus. This one draws its name from kappa, a Japanese mythological creature. Is their ramen a myth too? Unfortunately, no. I had their black ramen, with 'losu' meat (you can chose between 'losu' and 'bara').

Both: Assari tonkotsu-shoyu with some black, garlic liquid. That’s usually a winning combination for me (that’s the kind of broth that made me fall in love with ramen four years earlier at Ippudo!), but here, the black sauce was too fat. Not unpleasant, but nothing exceptional, really. Also, as many tonkotsu-shoyu broth, this was too salty.

Noodles: Barikata, as I ordered.

Meat: The losu was really nothing special. The bara my colleagues were eating did not look much better.

Toppings: The menma were a bit hard, with a very subdued version of the classical taste of menma. Not very enjoyable.

I would recommend to stick with the classical version of the ramen, that you can order in light taste, or koi (concentrated) – I had a better impression of this ramen last time I went there. If you are in the area, Ippudo or even Kieiken would be a better choice.

More info on ramendb.

Other review: Friends in ramen (Minami shop)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gundan (Kyōto-shi, Sakyō-ku)

Ramen Gundan

J-mazesoba ninniku: 15 / 20
(J-まぜそば にんにく)

This ramen restaurant may not be the most famous of Ichijoji, but got pretty good reviews, and I was curious to try it. However, they specialize in a very kotteri (thick) ramen and tsukemen, which did not sound like a great idea less than four hours after my tonkotsu-shoyu ramen at Bishiya. So I went with the J-mazesoba, thinking that it may well be lighter; oh but by the way, what could the ‘J’ mean?... It is only when I saw the pile of bean sprouts on top of my gigantic bowl coming towards me that I got it: ‘J’ stood for ‘jiro’. I wanted to have something not too heavy, and I ended up with a jiro ramen, probably the heaviest dish in the universe... well, whatever, I’m not going to let that go to waste.

Sauce: No broth obviously, but a pleasant, very garlicy sauce, that coated nicely the noodles under a garlic fat layer. The more I ate, the fatter the broth was, until it was definitely too fat and I gave up.

Noodles: Thick, firm and curly, good noodles.

Meat: A very large, thick part of pork, crumbly (not unlike some tuna in a can), with a quite light, but pleasant taste.

Toppings: As usual in jiro ramen, there was a large pile of toppings: crunchy cabbage sprinkled with chilli powder, bean sprouts, and lots of garlic mixed in the sauce.

The mix of bean sprout, thick delectable noodles and garlic has definitely a lot of appeal to me, and I've never been disappointed by a jiro ramen - admittedly, I haven't tried much either, maybe 5 or 6 in total. This one was comparable in quality with the few ones I've tried before, but the sauce was definitely too fat after a while, hence the ‘only’ 15 rating. Oh yeah, and that was definitely too much meat.

Note also that if you are a fan of jiro ramen, there is another one in the same street, Yume wo katare, just before the corner with Higashioji dori, which is kind of a local fame (it was actually there that I ate my very first jiro ramen, four years ago).

More info on ramendb.

Bishiya (Kyōto-shi, Sakyō-ku)


Tonkotsu-shoyu ramen: 16 / 20

Coming to Ichijoji in Kyoto for lunch on a saturday during the momiji season (and possibly during any season) is not really a good idea. Crowds of hungry ramen lovers swarm in front of all the ramen restaurants - at least, the good ones (the queue in front of Takayasu was daunting!). I wanted to try a relatively recent restaurant which opened a couple of years ago, but there was still a one hour waiting time at 14:15 (and, as I would discover later, the same waiting time later at 17:15 - impressive!). Not very patient in nature, I chose to try a ramen shop that did not get so many reviews, but only good ones, Bishiya. As the name indicates, it specializes in Yohohama-style iekei ramen (all iekei shop finish by the 屋 kanji, which reads "-ya"). As it happened, I had tried iekei ramen only once - at nothing less than the founding restaurant of the style, Yoshimuraya, in Yokohama. Since the queue in front of Bishiya was somewhat shorter than in front of the other local celebrities, I decided to give it a try. This was a good idea.

Broth: A thick tonkotshu-shoyu broth, delectable although quite salty (nothing unexpectable when you add shoyu in a tonkotsu broth…). The juice perfectly coated the noodles in a fatty layer. You can add some pepper, which I would recommend - it fits well with the broth.

Noodles: Slightly thicker than the regular tonkotsu noodles, good quality.

Meat: A slice of thin chahsu that falls apart a bit - not too bad, but could be better.

Toppings: Some spinach - not so tasty, but I guess it’s nice to have some vegetable (although that’s more of an excuse). Some kikurage, negi and a slice of nori.

Difficult to compare it with Yoshimuriya, as I tried it already some time ago, but it lived up to the expectations. One could say that it is not surprising, since Yoshimura has put his recipe in open access, but I've heard several ramen experts complaining about the general low quality of iekei ramen across the country. I cannot imagine anyone complaining about this one, though.

More info on ramendb.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Kinsei (Osaka-fu, Ibaraki-shi)

Ibaraki Kinsei

Niboshi shoyu ramen : 14 / 20

Having taken the wrong train, I ended up in Ibaraki-shi, about 20 kms from where I was supposed to stop. Although I had sworn to myself that this would not be one more ramen-day, the opportunity was too tempting and I had to transmute this slightly annoying incident into a great experience, by trying some local ramen before doubling back. I went to Kinsei, the most highly ranked ramen restaurant around Ibaraki-shi station - and in continuation with my Tokyo-trip, I ordered the niboshi-flavored shoyu-ramen (they also serve a niboshi shio ramen).

Broth: The shoyu and niboshi taste was pleasant but light (I wouldn't have recognized the niboshi inside).

Noodles: Nothing special here, classical straight noodles.

Meat: A couple of slices of a relatively fat, kind of OK chashu.

Egg: There was a very small egg – could it be quail egg ? Behind the crunchiness of the white part, the yolk exploded in the mouth. Quite good.

Toppings: Some long, white and strongly tasted negi. A few crunchy menma with a very light taste and some unknown notes.

So overall, this is a good ramen but I don't think it deserves to go out of one's own way – I find it a bit overestimated on ramendb. Kudos for the creative use of the quail egg, though.

More info on ramendb.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ishin (Tōkyō-to, Shinagawa-ku)


Niboshi ramen: 16 / 20
Niboshi tsukemen: 13 / 20

This ramen shop located 300 m from Meguro station has a definitely pleasant vibe, with its white bright atmosphere and jazz background music. My friend ordered the niboshi ramen, and I chose the niboshi tsukemen. Let’s start with the former:

Broth: A wonderful niboshi broth enhanced by some yuzu notes – a beautiful harmony!

Noodles: A little bit curly and slightly too soft for my taste.

Meat: Very lean and tender, but very mild in taste.

Toppings: Some soft menma with a light classical taste, some purple onions, white negi and herbs.

I love niboshi, I love yuzu, so I was bound to love this broth. Although the remainder of the ingredients were not so exceptional, this elegant broth could compete with the best niboshi around.

Unfortunately, my tsukemen was less remarkable:

Broth: Light in taste and sticks little to the noodles, not bad but a little bit disapointing when compared to the ramen. The soup wari was too diluted and totally uninteresting.

Noodles: Very thin noodles for a tsukemen, they kind of looked like whole grain but still had some elasticity. Interesting change but not so convincing – also, they were quite sticky and it was a bit difficult to separate them from each other.

Meat: Two slices of pink ham (I guess?), which gave some colorful twist to this elegant bowl, but hardly tasted anything.

Toppings: A very long menma branch, tender behind the crunchiness, but light in taste. Some parsil, and some mitsuba.

An interesting and elegant bowl, but not as convincing as expected. I would definitely recommend to stick to their niboshi ramen – and they also have more classical shoyu (see Ramen Tokyo's review) and shio ramen that might be worth trying.

More info on ramendb.

Other review: Ramen Tokyo

Monday, November 10, 2014

Oto (Tōkyō-to, Adachi-ku)

麵屋 音
めんや おと
Menya Oto

Niboshi-shoyu soba: 13 / 20

After having (re-)tried the fantastic Nagi and En, I was in the mood for more niboshi-ramen comparison. I was in Kita-senju, and this happened to be the specialty of this shop in Kita-senju, so there was only one thing to do:

Broth: Very thick broth, with some yuzu peel, but the niboshi flavor was very light – too light for my taste.

Noodles: Firm and slightly brittle.

Egg: Half of a hard-boiled egg. Seriously, Oto-cook, what's the point?

Meat: Some braised, firm chashu, not bad at all.

Toppings: Some menma with a strong taste, crunchy at places and soft at others.

Although this was not unpleasant, I would recommend this ramen only to the kotteri ramen fans. Which I'm unfortunately not.

More info on ramendb.

Miso Matador (Tōkyō-to, Adachi-shi)


Miso tsukemen: 15 / 20

Matador and its beef-ramen in Kita-senju is a myth, but unfortunately a bit far away in the northern area (although conveniently located for tourists who want to enjoy Kita-senju's budget hotels). I was finally looking forward to try it... before I realized it was closed on Monday. Fortunately, the best app in the world (supleks ramendb, obviously) informed me that they have a spin-off restaurant that specializes in miso-ramen - sounded like a good alternative! I ordered the miso-tsukemen, a rarity in the ramen world (the only two I tried so far were at Kururi and Suzuran). 

Broth: A sweet-ish miso broth with many tomatoes, slightly spicy. It was pleasant both before and after adding the wari-soup.

Noodles: Firm and good.

Meat: Some pleasantly flavored minced meat, next to the noodles. It was a good idea they were not served in the broth, as the miso taste would probably have overpowered their subtle notes.

Toppings: Some nori sheet, which did not fit so well to the broth IMHO.

So it was a pleasant surprise, recommended for sure, although not exceptional. Compared to my memories, the broth was stronger and more pleasant than in Suzuran, and not as intense as in Kururi (which may be a good thing – Kururi's aftertaste is too strong for me, although most ramen-fans seem not to mind) – but I had quite a few bowls since then (euphemism), so it's a bit difficult to tell. I'm not sure if they use beef bones also in the tsukemen, as they do in the main Matador restaurant, and also apparently here for the miso ramen; but for sure, I could not taste anything special in this respect. Anyway, if you fancy a miso tsukemen (and also miso ramen, if I believe the other reviews), that's definitely a place to go.

More info on ramendb.

Other reviews: Ramen Adventures, Ramen Love

Sunday, November 9, 2014

En (Tōkyō-to, Hachioji-shi)

煮干鰮らーめん 圓
にぼしいわしらーめん えん
Niboshi Iwashi Ramen En

[Niboshi] shio ramen: 18 / 20
Niboshi [shoyu] ramen: 18 / 20 

I had been at En in Hachioji during my one-month Tokyo-stay a few months ago before I started this blog, but I was still kind of a ramen-rookie at the time (probably under 100 bowls), and it was the first time I had tried a niboshi ramen. Now going to the Showa kinen koen a few stations away from there, I thought it was a good occasion to re-try this monument of the ramen world with more experience. That was a good idea. I took the shio ramen, and my friend the niboshi ramen (both are niboshi based, but the niboshi ramen has some shoyu added - you can also try the 'mukashinagara' bowl for a shoyu with some more punch).

Broth: Very simply, En’s broth is sublime. A model of niboshi-ness, with enough fat to concentrate the subtle taste and make it infuse into your whole body. If I should just rate the broth, En would score 20 / 20: this tare is out of this world in its simple perfection. Both the shio’s broth and the shoyu’s broth ranked equally, with the shoyu’s one having a little bit more of roastiness and more pungent, and the shio more smooth (nearly buttery?) letting the niboshi express itself in its whole purity. I might have a slight preference for the shoyu one (the so-called 'niboshi ramen'), but not enough to rank them differently. Both are divine.

Noodles: Katame and relatively brittle (maybe like some kind of whole grain noodles, although they didn’t have the typical light brown color). There was quite a lot of them though and they became soft after a while. Enjoyable enough, but not the kind of noodles I love - I prefer more elastic noodles.

Meat: The letdown of the bowl. Although the roasted edge of the slices was very pleasant, the fat inside was quite elastic and the meat not up to the level of the rest of this bowl.

Egg: Half of a superb ajitama, with a very tasty white part (infused with shoyu) and a gooey yolk. I appreciate that they provided only half of it, this was just the right amount necessary to enjoy it.

Toppings: Some thick menma with a square section, soft and crunchy at the same time (don’t ask me how that’s possible, just go there and try by yourself), with a strong taste, that perfectly harmonize with the broth.

With better chashu (and noodles a bit more to my taste), this ramen could have score 19 or even 20. But this is a model of a ramen, and if you are a fan of niboshi broth, you definitely have to try it some day.

I usually don't post the pictures of my bowls once finished, but I thought that this one was cute:

More info on ramendb.

Other reviews: Ramen Adventures, Timeout

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Jankudo (Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku)


Italian abura soba: 11 / 20

Jankudou specializes in abura soba and offers an impressive variety of them. I tried the italian one that seemed to be the most ‘healthy’ – if one could speak of a healthy abura soba.

Sauce: Nothing really special except that it tasted like cheap olive oil.

Noodles: Relatively brittle (rather than elastic).

Toppings : Some cubes of unremarkable ham, some basic parmesan, and some tomato and salad.

Although no ingredient was remarkable in itself, the whole thing was not unpleasant to eat – but it cannot be recommended either. Despite the interesting variety of abura soba, I would not recommend wasting time and ramen-energy there, unless you're a die-hard abura soba fan who decided to try all of them in the capital city (good luck).

More info on ramendb.

Friday, November 7, 2014

KING KONG (Tōkyō-to, Toshima-ku)

いけめん きんぐこんぐ
Ikemen Kingu Kongu

Torofuru tsukemen:  17 / 20

King Kong had been on my radar for a long time, as it was on Ramen Adventures' first recommendation list, but for some reason I did not find myself so much in Ikebukuro - and most of the time I was there, it was to bring friends to Tokyo's most crazy place, Namjatown, where you can eat gyoza from all over Japan (try also some of the 60-or-so ice cream flavors there, you'll be surprised!). So this time I was in the area with no plan to go to Namjatown, I really wanted to try at last this mythical tsukemen.

Broth: A dense and sweet tonkotsu gyoukai broth that sticks very well to the noodles. The sweetness seemed to come from some green unidentified stuff - and was maybe a little bit ovepowering after some time, but really brought an interesting twist to your usual tonkotsu gyokai fix.

Noodles: Very firm noodles – at first I thought they were even too firm, but as it happened they were quite pleasant like that. They did not have the eggy taste that you often find in tsukemen noodles.

Meat: A slice of biocolor, very melting chashy, infused with delicious fat, and two slices of leaner meat – was it chicken? There was also some minced white meat in the broth but it didn’t really bring anything.

Toppings : Some thin, menma with a strong, typical taste of preserved food. You can also add some curry powder to the broth for some interesting twist.

Overall, an excellent tonkotsu gyoukai tsukemen. Looks like I missed their special apple/yuzu vinegar - a good reason to come back some day.

More info on ramendb.

Other reviews: Ramen Adventures, Japantravel

TOKYO UNDERGROUND RAMEN Ganja (Tokyo-to, Toshima-ku)

とうきょうあんだーぐらうんどらーめん がんじゃ

Kotteri tsukemen: 15 / 20
(濃厚 つけめん)

Arriving early with the night bus in Tokyo at Ikebukuro, I wanted to use the time I had there to maximize the number of ramen I could sample. Therefore, I was happy to discover that a relatively highly praised ramen shop was opened from 10 am. I tried their kotteri (thick) tsukemen (it is their default option, but they also offer a ‘light’ tsukemen that seems to be shoyu-based), with ontama (alternatively, you can go for a more classical ajitama).

Broth: Kotteri it said, kotteri it was: that may have been one of my thickest tonkotsu gyoukai broth ever (the divine Fuunji is out of competition, as it is chicken-based). It sticks exceptionally well to the noodles, but lacks a little bit of taste - fortunately, there is a little bit of powder on top of the bowl to add some punch. As usual, the soup-wari pushed the taste towards more fishiness.

Noodles: Flat and thick noodles, with a good, classical taste of eggy tsukemen-noodles.

Meat: A few meat-‘allumettes’ in the broth (sorry for importing some more French words into food vocabulary, but I don't know the equivalent in English, I don't think that 'meat-match' would sound so great...), nothing exceptional here.

Egg: The ontama was very runny, I was not sure how to combine it with the dish. First I tried to dip the noodles in the ontama before re-dipping them in the soup - it made an even thicker coating, not unpleasant.  Then I mixed it with the soup, but it didn't really bring anything. I would rather recommend to stick with the classical ajitama (in case it is good, I have no idea about that), or to order your dish without egg.

Toppings: A few fin and alumettes-shaped menma, very salty and crunchy, with a mild aroma.

So overall, a good tsukemen, and one that - I presume - some thick-broth-fan may fall in love with, but for me it did not reach exceptionally high levels. They also have a tantanmen-mazesoba that I’d like to try some day. Not that the settings were quite pleasant, with one side of the counter facing a large mirror, and the other side facing a wall of big stones.

More info on ramendb.

Other review: Go Ramen!