Thursday, May 17, 2018

山為食堂 (Yamatame Shokudo in Wakayama)



Wakayama is known for this style. Heavy pork tonkotsu soup with equally heavy, often local, shoyu seasoning. This particular shop, Yamatame Shokudo, is picture perfect, and a great way to start a local ramen tour. This shop has been open since 1953.

The most famous shop in Wakayama is Ideshoten, a must-hit for anyone on a ramen mission in the area. Keep in mind, though, that there are dozens of other quality shops around.

If you need a guide (and you probably do), check out the Wakayama Ramen Taxi. They will have you sorted in no time!


This was part of a trip I took to Wakayama to check out the ramen taxi.

The entire writeup is here:

Huge thanks to My Secret Wakayama for the opportunity.


Wakayama-ken, Wakayama-shi, Fukumachi 12
10 minute walk from Wakayama-shi Station

Open 11:00-17:00
Closed Sundays

Monday, May 14, 2018

ねいろ屋 (Neiroya in Ogikubo)



I'd visited Neiroya in Ogikubo years ago, and felt it was time for a return. They had closed, but opened just across the small walking street they have always been on.


And, yes, they still serve shaved ice.


Always start with ramen. Actually, I have heard that かき氷オタク, shaved ice nerds, will eat a shaved ice, then ramen, then another shaved ice. Yes, shaved ice has some fans who search out good shops all over the country.


I went with the lemon ramen, a limited item, this time. Neiroya is constantly making limited bowls with a theme of local products. Lemons only really grow in one part of Japan, The Seto Inland Sea, and the limited space means that most of them are from small, organic farmers. Other citrus fruits thrive in Japan, but not lemons.

The regular bowls are shoyu using products from the Seto Sea, and a shio using free range chicken and pork.


The shaved ice menu is always seasonal, and this time grapes were in season. I had to look up these particular fruits, as I'd never heard of ピオーネ or スチューべン before.

Pione are a kind of grape used for rose wine, and Steuben are a dark variety that ripen shortly after Concord grapes.


Really refreshing.


By the way, you'll have to order ramen if you want to try the shaved ice for lunch, but from 3:00pm, you can get just shaved ice.


You should really eat ramen, though.


Tokyo, Suginami-ku, Amanuma 3-6-24
8 minute walk from Ogikubo Station

Open 11:30-14:00, 15:00-20:00
Weekends 11:00-16:00

Thursday, May 10, 2018

一笑 (Issho in Asagaya)



Fun, local shop!


I do, too. I need a noodle to keep me happy.


There's a bit of kabuki involved here. First, get the ramen in the upper left. Then choose how you want it. The yellow buttons in the middle are all different bowls of toppings. I'll break them down.

プレーン - Plain (boooooring!)
スタベジ - Stamina-style with extra garlic
カラベジ - Spicy style
シビベジ - Numbing style
トマベジ - Tomato Style
すっぱベジ - sour (Thai) style
ウオベジ - Fishy style
ブラベジ - Fatty style


I went with the Thai style, which has a copious amount of lemongrass and cilantro. Blurred in the back is the spicy style, topped with red chili powder and fried garlic.


The soup itself is a heavy pork based broth, filled with medium noodles. It was quality, though I was fussing over the huge variety of topping bowls and didn't really savor the soup as I probably should have. Gotta go back. Gotta try a few more.


And how awesome is this.


Tokyo, Suginami-ku, Asagayaminami 1-9-5
2 minute walk from Minami Asagaya Station

Open 11:00-16:00
Closed Wednesdays