Kyushu Jangara 東京都千代田区外神田 – Tokyo, Japan (Day 10)

Jangara Jangara Jangara! I just love saying that. While doing some shopping in Akihabara, we skipped the maid cafes and headed to Kyushu Jangara for some more tonkotsu greatness.

My apologies to the store owner for taking this picture. Apparently you can’t take pics of the ramen bar. But since I already took it, I might as well show it to you.

Kyushu Jangara “Everything In It” Ramen: If you ever wanted a ramen with everything in it, then this would be it. A silky smooth tonkotsu broth with chashu, buta kakuni, egg, mentaiko, kikurage, negi, and goma. The chashu alone would have been worth it, but two fat peices of buta kakuni were more than I could ask for. I now understand the Jangara hype.

Although I heard a lot of people ordering their noodles extra hard, I just went with the normal texture and it tasted perfect. These noodles really reminded me of soumen and they were very easy to slurp.

Some additional karashi takana in the soup spiced it up a bit. I highly recommend adding some in yours!

Garyu Umami Soba Jiraigen 東京都杉並区和泉 – Tokyo, Japan (Day 9)

If someone were to ask me what my favorite ramen-ya in Tokyo is, I would say Jiraigen (the original soul food noodle) in less than a heartbeat. Seriously folks, there’s nothing outrageous about the ramen here, it’s just naturally good and incredibly honest. Japanese soul food is synonymous with Jiraigen.

Garyu Umami Soba (shoyu): I once said that this was the best shoyu ramen I’ve ever had. And now, I will say it again. This is the best shoyu ramen I’ve ever had!

Funky Chuuka Soba: Sometimes funky means good and sometimes funky means bad. In this case, funky has defined a new level of greatness. Chuuka soba never tasted so good!

The toppings (chashu, menma, mizuna, nori) were great, but the most funkiest were the noodles. Unbelievably good, their structure transcended the most soulful of characters.

You can never go wrong with a huge pile of freshly flavored menma.

Bassanova 東京都世田谷区羽根木 – Tokyo, Japan (Day 8)

You might have thought Day 8 was over, but you were wrong. On a night filled with lightning and thunder, I managed to make it out to Bassanova for a late night ramen fix. Recommended by Ivan, I was on course to try something suprisingly untraditional.

Bassanova is a clear favorite that has been moving up in its rank among the ramen faithful. If it wasn’t for Ivan we may have never known its greatness, and I do believe they can someday soon give Menya Kissou a run for its money.

Green Curry Ramen: Are you kidding me?!! Green Curry Ramen? Are you kidding me! This stuff is crazy good!! I mean crazy good!!! Did you hear me? Wow!! I mean WOW!!! Seriously, it was darn good. A ramen fused with Thai influence is peace and harmony mixed with creativity that is out of this world. The toppings (chashu, menma, negi, glazed scallions, mizuna) were unbelievably good. But honestly, anything added to this soup would taste great. The noodles were thick and chewy with perfection surrounded by more perfection. This ramen was incredible! I highly recommend it if you’re in the area.

豚濁和出汁 Soba: The tondaku wadashi soba was also quite delicious, but Bassanova is all about the green curry. This ramen featured a thinner hakata style noodle with a delicate shoyu taste, but only order it after you’ve tried the green curry.

As you can see below, it was raining really hard when we left. Bassanova was definitely worth getting drenched for. I would say that this is a must try if you’re in Tokyo. If you don’t like it, I’ll even personally reimburse you for your meal.

Hachiya – Yokohama, Japan (Day 8)

You might remember Hachiya and their grilled lard from a previous post and how incredible I thought it tasted. Well, I wasn’t gonna leave the museum without giving a another try.

特製 Tanmen: The soup for this tanmen was its shio base with a hint of vegetable and seafood that came from the toppings. It was nice to have vegetables in my ramen for a change. Hachiya does not disappoint.

Shoyu Ramen: This is the ramen I fell in love with on my first visit. Although time has passed, the love has not faded.

Shio Ebi Wonton Men: This is what my brother ordered and I didn’t get a chance to try the wonton’s but from what he says they were damn good. He fell in love with Hachiya too.

My one-year-old niece is already developing the traits to become a great ramen slurper. It must be in the genes!

Chuuka Soba Ichiriki – Yokohama, Japan (Day 8)

The newest edition to the Raumen Museum’s family is Chuuka Soba Ichiriki, which opened in May of this year.

Originally located in Tsuruga, a city known for its fresh seafood and a nuclear power plant, Ichiriki has mutated its Chuuka Soba to new levels.

Chuuka Soba: This ramen was indeed sharp and not your average chuuka soba. It cut through my taste buds like a finely crafted samurai sword. The special pepper blend floating in the soup may be a bit overbearing for some, but I thought it was magnificent. The toppings (chashu, menma, shoga, negi) were a bit on the average side, but good nonetheless. The noodles were very fresh and similar to a place like Harukiya.

Ide Shoten – Yokahama, Japan (Day 8)

After once having a chat with the owner of Chuuka Soba Gomen and learning that his soup was based on Wakayama’s Ide Shoten (he apparently paid to train there), I couldn’t wait to get back to the Raumen Museum and give it a try. After already trying the instant version with mixed results, I had a feeling the real stuff would not disappoint.

Direct from Wakayama where they would average 900 bowls of ramen a day, Ide Shoten has perfected the tonkotsu-shoyu flavor of its region.

Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen: A deep, rich shoyu flavor that is one word…gooood! Although it’s just a mini, it still represents all the components of the regular size. The toppings (chashu, menma, negi, kamaboko) are all mouthwatering. And the noodles are still some of the best around.

Although Ide Shoten is still many levels above Chuuka Soba Gomen, I do taste a similarity in the soup. If only Gomen could have matched the recipe exactly…

Menya Kissou 東京都江東区東陽 – Tokyo, Japan (Day 7)

Arguably the best ramen in Tokyo, Menya Kissou has the longest line I’ve ever seen and ever waited in. I arrived at 11:50am and didn’t start eating my tsukemen until 1:10pm. I am not kidding. I waited over an hour in hot and sticky humid misery! I think I’ve officially gained ramen otaku (geek) status. I just hope it lives up to Exile Kiss’ #1 all-time favorite ranking.

With only a counter capacity of nine, this line took 5 games of solitaire on my phone to move a foot. After awhile, it felt like the semi (cicadas) were mocking us with their rhythmic chatter. And before I get started on how good Menya Kissou was, I think I’d have to agree with Ramen Tokyo and say that it’s probably not worth the wait (and he only had to wait 45 min), but under other circumstances, say 15 minutes or so, I would crave it everyday.

Chashu Tsukemen: If I had to choose between ramen or tsukemen, I’d most likely choose ramen 90% of the time. Menya Kissou does offer ramen as well, but I decided to go with the tsukemen on this humid summer day. And without a doubt, it was amazing! The soup is a lightly flavored tonkotsu that smells fresh and performs like a soothing lubricant. With so many good ramen-ya’s in Tokyo it’s hard to pinpoint the best, but I wouldn’t argue its #1 ranking one bit.

The noodles alone were the best I’ve had on this trip. Firm and chewy, they can probably cure cavities and gingivitis from its freshness.

The cold cut chashu becomes a moist piece of pig after a quick skinny dip.

The hanjyuku egg was so good it should be outlawed. This really isn’t fair.

I often wonder if ramen-ya’s like this would do good in the states. I know there’s people like you and me who would frequent a place like this all the time, but what about the other American’s who don’t quite understand this flavor. Would they eventually get it too?

GooTa 煮玉炙り叉焼 Cup Ramen (Day 6)

I needed something else to satisfy my ramen craving for day 6 so I picked up this 4 minute instant ramen at the nearby conbini. Apparently, GooTa has been popular with the salary-men who want more than just cup ramen but not have to pay the price of real ramen. An instant ramen that has real egg and chashu was enough to convince me to give it a try.

This instant ramen was slightly more complicated to make than just adding water and it went something like this. Open the bowl halfway. Take the purple pouch (menma, egg, chashu) and boil it separately in a pot on the stove. Then take the turqoise pouch and add it to the noodles and fill the bowl to the line with boiling water.

Rest the dark blue pouch on top of the bowl as you wait. After 4 minutes, add the blue pouch and the purple pouch to the rest of the ramen and enjoy!

Can you believe that this is instant? And not even nama? I can understand why the salary-men like it. If I closed my eyes it almost tasted like real ramen-ya ramen.

The noodles would have given it away though. They are slightly chewier than cup noodle and have instant written all over them.

This fresh-looking chashu didn’t taste bad either, although it seemed to just evaporate in my mouth.

Now the egg was just disgusting. It’s rubbery crunch will not join the rest the next time.

Overall (minus the egg), this GooTa was really good for being instant.

Yoshida No Ramenya 吉田のらーめんや – Yamanashi, Japan (Day 6)

A wise friend told me not to eat ramen in Kawaguchiko because anywhere that I went would just be a huge disappointment. I didn’t listen…

First of all, there weren’t many ramen-ya’s in the area and most of them were closed. So when we saw that Yoshida No Ramenya was open we hesitantly walked in. The place looked nice and the staff were friendly so maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea, I thought. They spotlight a noodle made with silk powder and water from nearby Fujisan. And they have kotteri shoyu–my favorite. How bad could this be?

They even have free umeboshi (pickled plum) at the table.

Kotteri Shoyu Silk Ramen: If you have a ramen shop using the water from nearby Fujisan it better be damn good. Sadly, this was not. Don’t get me wrong…the soup didn’t blow me away, but it was still good. The noodles on the other hand were not anything close to what I imagined. The toppings (chashu, egg, menma, kikurage, nori) were only slightly satisfying.

These so-called “silk noodles” didn’t have the usual spring. Although they weren’t overcooked, they still tasted mushy without much flavor.

Shio Ramen: From the two sips of shio I had, it tasted very tradional and relatively tame.

Miso Chashu Ramen: The miso ramen tasted the best out of the three. Piled with moyashi and moist chashu, the soup had an exploding flavor.

The NON silk noodles were thicker and better than its silky brother. They should just stick to these noodles in everything.

Gyoza: They looked better than they tasted and seemed like they were missing something. I couldn’t taste much garlic.

Chahan: The chahan was like something you would find in the states…enough said.

I’ll probably should have listened to the wise friend, but I’ve never had regrets about eating ramen.