Now I don't really know why I've decided to start this blog, or what the purpose of it is. To be honest, I wouldn't even begin to think I was overly knowledgeable in the area of ramen, but I do know that I ENJOY eating ramen at various restaurants in and around Tokyo... Not to forget the others all over Japan. A trip anywhere in Japan usually involves a ramen shop of some description (often with my equally daring girlfriend accompanying me), so this gives me an avenue to document all of the different places I've been... And an excuse to go out of my way to visit new ones. There isn't any particular method to which stores I choose to visit - It'll usually be a combination of location, where I'm at or my proximity to the store. I live in northern Tokyo, so chances are many of the places will be littered around there. I will on occasions go out of my way to visit a store too, so if anyone has any recommendations, I'd be happy to try them.
I guess the main thing that attracts me to ramen is the taste.... (of course) but since there are around 5000 shops in Tokyo, it goes without saying that many of them must offer something unique if they are going to stand out from the crowd. Whether that be an obvious choice in a quality product, an atypical ingredient, (un)friendly staff, a bizarre dining experience or even an ordering system using gibberish, no two ramen shops are the same. Well, except for the chains... But even they tend to vary slightly. And we mustn't forget the stores that have a line out the front that, purely on the basis of there being a line, must be good. I know I've been guilty of joining a queue or two.... So I guess the main thing that attracts me ramen is the variety it offers and that each experience will be different from the last. Hopefully. And, for what it's worth, I'm quite partial to tonkotsu ramen so that that variety will likely appear quite often.
So join me in trying to discover some of the hidden gems that may be just around the corner. Or, simply, "Let's eat." It's ramen after all...
NOTE: The links to the ramen database for each store contain an average score and also a points score (not completely sure how they are different) from customers who have submitted a review to the site. In my opinion, the rating is just as much a reflection on the length of the line as the quality of the ramen and is merely a guide. In much the same way, I'm sure that the ratings that I give will have an element of bias in them. We all have different tastes, after all.
And here's a quick rundown of most things ramen.