Sunday, November 8, 2015

蒙古タンメン 中本 - Nakamoto, Okachimachi

蒙古タンメン - Mongolian Tanmen

    Nakamoto is not your typical ramen restaurant, but it does seem to be one of the more well-known and is the first place anyone mentions if the conversation turns towards spicy ramen and has a number of branches around the major hubs of town. This one is in Okachimachi is one of a cluster of ramen shops under the Yamanote line tracks.

   The soup is tanmen, which is a more traditional type of noodles from China that comes with stir-fried meat and vegetables, but the real fire comes from the Mapo Doufu, a dish from the Sichuan province of China which famed for being the home of all sorts of spicy creations.

   It was definitely the spiciest ramen I've had, and alarmingly was only a 4/10 level of spiciness according to their menu. You'll definitely want to keep one hand on your water while you're slurping away.

Friday, October 23, 2015

カラシビ味噌らー麺 鬼金棒 - Kikanbou, Ikebukuro

カラシビ味噌ラーメン - Spicy Miso Ramen

   If you've got a little familiarity with kanji or Chinese characters you'll notice that the first one here is the character for "demon." With that knowledge, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the folks here at Kikanbou are serving up some spicy ramen.
   Arriving at lunchtime, it's no surprise to see a queue, but it seemed to move pretty smoothly with the staff collecting your pre-purchased tickets to keep a steady pace. You do have some choices to make about how spicy you would like it. When in doubt, go with the normal one. Futsuu... 

   It wasn't over-the-top spicy (if you go for the standard level), but I guess that you have to be a lover of all things spicy to get the best out of it. Even this one had a slight tongue-numbing quality to it, too! Some tender chashu, and some thick noodles to soak up that miso-y goodness. But my favourite touch had to be the baby corn perched up high on the mountain of bean sprouts.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

博多ラーメン長浜や - Nagahamaya, Nippori

博多ラーメン - Hakata Ramen

    I was super excited to see a Hakata-style ramen shop open only a stone's throw away since this was the style that began the ramen obsession for me.

  The smell was certainly authentic  (If you've ever walked past a tonkotsu ramen shop you know what I'm talking about.) but in this case the soup itself seemed to be a little too pungent. 

Unfortunately I'll have to continue to venture further afield to get my Hakata fix.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

めん処 羽鳥 - Hatori, Nippori

しょうがらーめん - Ginger Ramen

   Hatori is one of the ramen shops that I walk by on a near daily basis that didn't really seem too attractive to me and kind of run-of-the-mill, but then I noticed that they had a unique ingredient so it went on the list.

   The little mound in the middle is the ginger. It is a polarizing taste, so needless to say Hatori isn't for everyone. 

  It worked for me. I was a little worried that the ginger would be a bit of a gimmick, but it was pretty subtle overall and the ramen as a whole was pretty enjoyable.

Friday, February 27, 2015

みそ味専門マタドール - Matador Miso, Kita Senju

贅沢濃厚味噌らぁ麺 - Dense Luxury Miso Ramen

   Laziness has prevented me from writing this post in a timely manner, but it hasn't prevented me from subsequent visits to Matador Miso. A spin-off from the lauded Matador, also in Kita Senju, this branch has a completely different menu and offers a seemingly more traditional ramen, but with a modern, matador twist.

   Is that roast beef? In keeping with the beefy theme that the other store has, Matador offers some roast beef chashu with this more expensive, topping-laden bowl alongside the more common minced meat that you usually find with miso ramen. I've actually skipped out on the pricier version the other times I've been and gone with the more simple bowl, which is also a great choice. The renkon (lotus root) is a little different and the tomato really matched the soup.

   Finishing this one to the last drop wasn't even a question. I'm not a big fan of ramens over ¥1000 as a general rule, but I can't see how they could keep this one under, so they'll get a pass there.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

けやき - Keyaki, Sapporo

コーンバター味噌ラーメン - Corn Butter Miso Ramen

   I generally try to avoid writing a second post about the same place, but when you've come all the way to Hokkaido you sometimes have to make exceptions. I hadn't actually planned to go to Keyaki again, but on a subzero New Year's Eve there weren't a great deal of choices. The guys at Keyaki obviously didn't see the new year as a reason to shut up shop and were open until well past midnight. We had arrived at around 8, just early enough to avoid a surge of customers, but not early enough to avoid the queue altogether. Thirty minutes or so in Sapporo seems longer than in Tokyo.

   I went with a different choice to last time and opted for the butter and corn as extra toppings. It didn't make a great deal of difference, to be honest. I think it was all about the warmth of being inside and the hot soup this time. Pretty great ramen. The only criticism I have of this place is that the counter has at least one too many seats - it is doable, but eating with your elbows tucked in isn't the most enjoyable way to demolish a bowl of ramen.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

与ろゐ屋 - Yoroiya, Asakusa

味玉ラーメン - Ajitama Ramen

   The best way to enjoy a bowl of ramen is on an empty stomach. This is especially true if you know that you'll be having a bowl later on - the anticipation can reach fever pitch in that few minutes between placing your order and being presented with that wonderful bowl of glistening unhealthiness. This is exactly how I was feeling the morning I went to Yoroiya, just a stone's throw away from Tokyo's famous Sensoji Temple in Asakusa.

   Being in such a well-trodden tourist area it seems to be friendly to non-Japanese speakers so you won't have too much trouble ordering. The problem is that it's not one of the places I would recommend. At the very least I wouldn't get anything with an egg: I'm not sure whether I caught them on a bad day or it's always like this, but the eggs had to be ejected from the bowl. Finished the rest though.