Just something I had to share. Black gyoza from the izakaya Shirokiya. I was heavily intoxicated when I ordered them, but they actually tasted really good. They still creep me out though. Just looking at them makes me think the grudge will pop out.
Tokyo Ramen Trip 2008 – Day 8 (The Last Slurp)
The day has finally come for me to leave Tokyo–quite possibly the worst day of my ramen life. But after slurping 14 amazing ramen bowls in just 8 days, I’ve been inspired and I’ll never look at LA ramen the same. I still can’t believe how much ramen has evolved in just a few years. This simple noodle soup is simple no more. There’s even a new type of ramen that doesn’t even involve soup. I didn’t have a chance to try it, but you can check out fellow ramen blogger Ramen Tokyo’s review of Junk Garage to get an idea of what it’s like. The future of ramen is indeed bright. I just hope I can be a part of it for years to come! The road to the perfect bowl may be cold, narrow, and seemingly without an end, but it is out there. You just have to believe…
My last and worst bowl of ramen in Japan was at Narita airport. I won’t even mention the shop name, but the only thing it did well was remind me of what would be awaiting in LA.
The best sushi in the world can be found at the largest fish market in the world, Tsukiji. They wouldn’t let me take pictures of the actual sushi, apparently it’s top secret, but if you’re planning a trip to Tokyo and have never been there, you must give this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity a try.
Another favorite food of mine that you won’t find in LA (at least I’ve never found it)–monjya. Similar to okonomiyaki, but a lot more fun to make and eat.
Japan’s always been known for having the coolest technology gadgets before anywhere else in the world. Like this new flip phone that rotates 90 degrees and broadcasts live TV in widescreen. We’ll probably see this in the US about 5 years from now.
It may be hard to believe, but the best part of my trip was not the ramen. It was being able to spend time and eat ramen with my two nieces. The oldest one (almost 3) is seen below not wasting a single drop of soup. She’s already learned the correct way to finish off a bowl of ramen.
Good old Southern California. I’ll miss Tokyo and be waiting anxiously to return, but it always feels good to come home. I hope you enjoyed my posts as much as I enjoyed the trip. Thanks for tuning in!
Tokyo Ramen Trip 2008 – Day 7
Kotteri ramen: Just being able to experience ramen in Japan makes every bowl feel perfect. This kotteri ramen from Musashi Kudou was no exception. It’s rich tonkotsu soup was heaven in a bowl. The noodles were slightly thicker than average and cooked just the way I like. The chashu was very tender and moist. LA needs more ramen like this!
Tokyo Ramen Trip 2008 – Day 6 (Part 2)
This mini tonkotsu-ramen was better than any words can describe. The chashu is slightly grilled and that grilled flavor translates over to the soup. Mmmm…
Menya Iroha: Chef Kiyoshi Kurihara used to be a salary man with his own business. After his business failed he ended up using his love of ramen to form his own shop. From knowing nothing about how to make ramen when he first started, his Toyama Black has become a huge success.
The shoyu-ramen was very strong, almost too strong, but still very good. The chashu was melt-in-your-mouth amazing.
The shio version of the ramen above was a lot more refreshing. There was even a little white shrimp just hanging out.
The one-bite gyoza was a perfect companion. Rather than dip it into the shoyu, it is recommended that you pour the shoyu on top and toss them straight into your mouth.
Tokyo Ramen Trip 2008 – Day 6 (Part 1)
Over the past several months, the Aqua City mall has rotated six groups of ramen shops six at a time and this is the last group to be featured. This ramen kokugikan is set to end in August so make sure you get there by then. The best part of these ramen parks is that you can order mini versions of their famous ramen, allowing every ramen fanatic to try more than just one. After eating a flurry of ramen the day before, I was only able to try two today. You’ll see them in part 2.
Tokyo Ramen Trip 2008 – Day 5 (Part 3)
I decided to stop by another ramen park in Kawasaki on my way back from the ShinYokohama Museum. Even though I was so full, I thought “what the heck, I can always just take pictures.”
- Ramen Oyama
Ramen Oyama: If you thought I couldn’t be satisfied just by taking pictures, then you know me all too well. After reading all the explanations, I was intrigued by this shrimp flavored ramen I couldn’t pass up. But the real question was, could my stomach also make the pass?
This ebi tonkotsu ramen was very different. Its shrimp and scallop based tonkotsu soup was overwhelmingly delicious. Topped with extra garlic, this ramen was a definite show stopper.
This was by far the most ramen I’ve eaten in one day–5 bowls. And I still have 2 more days!!! Hahaha.
Tokyo Ramen Trip 2008 – Day 5 (Part 2)
Shinasobaya: I regretted not being able to try this so it’s one of the main reasons I’m back again.
The “demon” himself, Chef Minoru Sano.
This shoyu-ramen was very assari. A great way to start off the night. The noodles were straight and chewy and the toppings (chashu, menma, negi, and nori) obeyed nicely.
This Ukokkei yude-tamago is an egg from a special chicken that only lays eggs once-a-week as opposed to daily for a regular chicken. This egg cost an additional 300 yen (about 3 dollars) and was well worth it!
The yoke just melted in my mouth with a distinct shoyu flavor.
Keyaki: My choices of ramen have been lacking vegetables lately, so I thought Keyaki’s miso ramen would be a perfect fit.
Deemed a ramen that “appeals to five senses,” it felt like it appealed to a few more that I never knew I had. The soup had a sweet miso taste with a little spice from the togarashi. The vegetables were delicious and just what I needed.
The noodles were curly and slurptastic!
Ryushanhai: Being so full after the first two, I didn’t think my stomach could take anymore. But I was determined to try another that I missed in round 1. I’ve had my eye on Ryushanhai’s karamiso topping since I first walked in.
I really wish there were more of me. This karamiso was an interesting combination of sweet and spicy. Sweet from the miso base and spicy from the karamiso topping. After one sip, I instantly understood its popularity.
Tokyo Ramen Trip 2008 – Day 5 (Part 1)
Sakamoto Building 1F 168-0063
It started to snow today. I woke up feeling so cold and yearned for a super hot bowl of ramen. Luckily, as I was walking to the bus station, I happened to stumble upon Jiraigen. A well known soul food “noodle.”
Being the first one there, I was able to grab a seat immediately, but with only a seat capacity of 8, the place filled up within minutes. There’s nothing like eating a hot bowl of ramen on a cold snowy day.
Garyu Umami Soba – Shoyu: I must say this is the best shoyu ramen I’ve ever had. The soup is very light with several flavors attacking your soul. Its complexity includes three types of soups blended together: Tonkotsu, Chicken, and Fish. You can read more about it on their website. The most amazing part about this ramen is that they get all this flavor without a single sprinkle of MSG. I am impressed. The noodles were very thin and straight with an option to choose a slightly thicker one. These are also original and made from buckwheat. The toppings (chashu, menma, mizuna, negi, and a piece of nori) were simple and perfect.
Shio Umami Soba – Shio: This shio ramen made with sea salt was also amazing. They only make 10/day so get their fast if your a fan of shio. Only one choice of very thin noodles, but who needs choices when it’s so damn good.
Menma: For only 100 yen (about one dollar), you get this huge pile of mmm…menma.
Tokyo Ramen Trip 2008 – Day 4 (Part 2)
Tokyo Ramen Park
- Higomonzu (Kumamoto Ramen)
- Shinasoba Kibi
- Saijo (Asahikawa Ramen)
- Tsukemen Tetsu
- Shodai Keisuke
With so much to choose from and wanting to try everything, I spent 30 minutes deciding which shop to walk into. I thought about ordering from all and sampling each specialty ramen, but that would mean valuable ramen going to waste. So in the end, I decided on Setagaya. It wasn’t crowded, but still busy enough to attract others and the tsukemen looked damn good.
Chef Maijima Tsukasa. A ramen G.
Hira Tsuke-men: I ordered the tsuke-men because my blog has never featured it. I would normally only prefer tsuke-men during the summer (since I like my ramen really hot in the winter), but it’s good to shake-it-up once in a while. The soup was fish based and contained many pieces of pork. It had a great aroma and attached to the noodles like a needy significant other.
Other toppings included a piece of nori, negi, and menma.
The noodles were tsuke-men style–flat and thicker than your usual ramen noodle. These noodles were, for the lack of a better word, awesome! And look at that portion! How could I even think about wasting something so good?
Kumo Ramen: This soup was very thick with a high level of viscosity, hence its cloudy name. It was like eating gravy ramen. Rescuing the noodles out of the bowl almost broke my chopsticks. It was very delicious, but a few bites left me dying of thirst.
Negi Gyoza: To be honest, I can’t even remember what these tasted like because I was popping them in my mouth so fast. All I remember is that they were crazy good.
Tokyo Ramen Trip 2008 – Day 4 (Part 1)
1-4-36, Nishiazabu, Minato ward, Tokyo
From the company that brought us Hakata Ippudo and the Shinyokohama Raumen Museum, Gogyo is a modern version of the ramen-ya, incorporating a full bar and a trendy relaxing atmosphere. It’s a great place to enjoy ramen after a few drinks or with a few drinks. The fireball in the picture below is the ramen’s secret ingredient.
Kogashi Miso-ramen: The blackest ramen I’ve ever seen! It’s as if someone just threw noodles in mud. Apparently they char the miso, creating dirt-like particles, before mixing it into the soup. A truly unique ramen! The soup had a strong onion miso flavor that did not disappoint. The toppings (egg, chashu, negi, and naruto) marinated with the soup perfectly.
The noodles were thin and straight, with a slight crunch. Very close to the perfect slurp.
An up close look at the dirt-like particles. The black bowl makes the soup look blacker than it actually is.
The gyoza were surprisingly fried and popcorn-like. They were very tasty but just average overall. I think they should stick with the theme and make them look dirty like the ramen.
The teba-saki is just one of their many non-ramen dishes (izakaya-style) to order while drinking.