Monday, July 15, 2019

銀座八五 (Ginza Hachigo in Ginza, Tokyo)

中華そば 銀座八五



The new kid on the block is Hachigo in Ginza. Just a short walk from the station. In case you didn't know, Ginza closes their main drag to cars on the weekend, letting pedestrians take to the famous street. You can stroll around as you like. You don't even need to buy any Mikimoto pearls or Fendi bags.



Yes, Ginza can be pricey. When Hachigo opened, they opened with a simple concept. The name is simple; hachi (eight) go (five). Once you see the menu you might understand. The ramen here is only 850 yen. Very high-quality ramen at a very good price.



They also have a 3000 yen seasonal bowl, though half a year after opening they still haven't been able to produce.



At this price point, you would expect something basic. Basic is as far from the result as possible.



Ramen hospitality. Hachigo makes a bowl without tare, the seasoning liquid that is usually a key ingredient in ramen. They opt for French salt instead. I've never known any other shops to make ramen like this; tare is the "secret" ingredient that makes high-end ramen shops stand out.

The stock is a meaty mix of chicken and duck, with accents from shellfish and ham.



Topped with a beautiful slice of chashu pork. All for 850 yen.



Expect lines. People line up, in the rain, an hour or so before they open. The hype may have died down since they opened in December of 2018, but you'll likely wait.



Thursday, July 11, 2019

せんだが家 (Sendaga-ya Mazesoba in Shinjuku, Tokyo)

せんだが家 まぜそば



I visited this newish mazesoba spot to film for YouTube. Three Minute Ramen!



Well, this idea of doing short, 3-minute videos on my YouTube channel was a failure. I blame the algorithm. Once I started doing shorter content, my views went from upwards of 50,000 views per video to around 5000 views per video. People in the know say that the YouTube algorithm, the function that suggests and automatically plays videos for users, now wants videos that are more than 10 minutes in length. So no more short videos.


Soupless mazesoba four ways. Aka, shiro, ki, and tsumi. 赤、白、黄、罪. Red, White, Yellow, and . . . sin?


Red must be spicy. In this case, it is similar to the Nagoya Taiwan style mazesoba.

White uses a homemade seasoning liquid, chashu, and raw egg. It's a mild choice.

Yellow is a curry thing.

Sin is garlic and fat. Jiro-style.


The shop has a chill vibe with tables, alcoholic drinks, and appetizers. Take your time.


The red is the one to get. A little spice, cubed chashu pork, and enough green onion to cover half the bowl. This is the style made famous by Hanabi in Nagoya and served all over the place these days. Soupless noodles are a trend, especially among overseas ramen lovers. I can see why; mix-em-up noodles are the ultimate junk food.


Add a little white rice at the end to sop up the extra sauce.


Crushed it!


Solid snack.


More drinks.


More snacks. This is a fun spot that just so happens to be a block from the reformed Olympic stadium. I tried to get tickets via the Japan-residents lottery but was denied. If anyone wants to take me to the opening ceremony, I'll treat you to a bowl and drinks here after!



Monday, July 8, 2019

ののくら (Nonokura in Kameari, Tokyo)

ののくら 手打式超多加水麺


Nonokura won the coveted silver rookie award in the 2019 TRY Magazine. Tokyo Ramen of the Year is considered one of the top curated ramen magazines in Japan. Their choices are solid, and the fact that half the magazine is devoted to rookie shops is a blessing for ramen hunters like me.



Out to Kameari. This is home of Kochira Katsushikaku Kameari Koenmae Hashutsujo (こちら葛飾区亀有公園前派出所), a famous manga about a policeman working at the nearby police box. This is also the home of Michi, one of Japan's highest ranked tsukemen shops.


Chukasoba. I love the simple menu. Give me the standard with an egg.


Looks like Michelin took notice of this new shop. Reading their writeup, it is nice to see that even the pros have a tough time coming up with interesting descriptions of ramen. Everything is rather standard. The interesting point is the homemade noodles with a high kansui level, meaning a more slippery slurp. Other than that, it's a chicken soup with dashi.


The noren curtain actually says it has super high kansui in the noodles.


You'll probably wait a short time, but that is standard at shops with such high regard.


Boom!


This one is very, very good. Yes, the noodles are a highlight. Slippery as all hell.

This style of ramen is popular these days, and the one the Michelin Guide prefers. Refined soy sauce, a few kinds of sous vide pork and chicken, high-quality menma, and a perfect egg. To quote the red book, worth a journey.

Nonokura uses a bit more meaty bones in the soup, as well as a blend of four kinds of dried fish. More meat means a richer taste.

Bonus fact. The shop is a combination of the master's daughter's name, Nonoka, and his name, Kurato. How cool is that!