Monday, April 24, 2017

三歩一 (Sanpoichi in Takadanobaba)

鶏そば 三歩一 

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I don't visit Takadanobaba that often, despite it being one of Tokyo's more famous ramen battle zones.

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Well, I got a TV gig, and the topic was Takadanobaba ramen ranking. They gave me a list of 60 shops to comment on. No I didn't hit all of them, but made it a point to seek out a few top contenders I had yet to slurp.

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Sanpoichi is as light as light chicken ramen can get. A clear broth with hints of umami. Very refined. Noodles made in house really stand out. Firm and wheaty.

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The homemade rayu hot oil was a nice addition, but be careful, it can overpower the subtle umami of this one.

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Crushed it! These are the perfect bowls for cold days. To me, it feels like mom's chicken soup kicked up with something extra.

I enjoyed this one, but it didn't make the TV show's Top 7, which were the only ones to make it on air. They said they interviewed 1000 people to make the list.

For your info, here it is. Do you agree?

  1. やまぐち - Yamaguchi
  2. 渡なべ - Watanabe
  3. 焼麺 劔 - Tsurugi
  4. 蔭山 - Kageyama
  5. 俺の空 - Orenosora
  6. 表裏 - Hyori
  7. 鷹流 - Takaryu


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Apparently this famous person came for a bowl at Sanpoichi as well.

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Map of 2 Chome-14-9 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 169-0075

東京都新宿区高田馬場2-14-9
Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Takadanobaba 2-14-9
Closest station: Takadanobaba

Open 11:00-15:00, 18:00-23:30

Thursday, April 20, 2017

タンタンタイガー (Tantan Tiger in Asakusa)

タンタンタイガー

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Anytime I hear of a new soupless tantanmen spot, I get excited. I love that hit of spice and sansho, Chinese numbing pepper. The more the better!

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I learned a lesson today. More isn't always better. When the master asked the levels of spice, I went normal. As for the numbing pepper, I went 大. I went big.

It wasn't until my third or fourth bite that I actually read the info sheet (more of a warning sheet). For the 辛さ, the spiciness, the middle is the shop's standard, and recommended for normal people. I can attest, it was just right. But the 痺れ, numbing level, has a different suggestions. For first timers, go 小, go small. If you like bitter, go normal. If you are a bit crazy, go big.

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So yeah, this one was way over-spiced, a folly that was completely my fault. I powered through, but didn't enjoy it as much as I should have. Those pre-shock bites, the first, second, and third, were great.

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Tantan Tiger has a selection of side veggies; avocado, tomato, and cilantro among others.

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A lovely onsen tamago helped the heat a bit.

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I was with the staff of MOTO NAVI magazine, and as they were featuring me in their magazine, I had to save face and finish the entire bowl. The good thing about sansho is that it doesn't linger.

So yeah, I recommend this one, but go medium or less on the spice.

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Map of 2 Chome-2-1 Torigoe, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0054

東京都台東区鳥越2-2-1
Tokyo, Taito-ku, Toritoge 2-2-1
Closest station: Kuramae

Open 11:00-15:00, 17:00-22:00
Closed Saturday

Monday, April 17, 2017

勝本 (Katsumoto in Jimbocho)

神田 勝本

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Jimbocho has never been lacking in terms of ramen, so when a new shop comes in, they had better bring their A game.

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I found out about this shop from one of the annual Toky ramen magazines. Katsumoto was giving a fairly high ranking in the field of rookie shops for the category of tsukemen with a clear soup. Yes, that is very specific. You should take these rankings with a grain of salt, as the field can be quite sparse. Although many ramen shops open and close in Tokyo every year, the number in each category can be small.

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I'm not a huge fan of lighter tsukemen, but the bowl here has something special.

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Two kinds of noodles. Thick, and thin.

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All in all, having two kinds of noodles was a gimmick to me, and it meant that, though I liked one more, I also liked one less. The thinner of the lot paled next to the thick, chewy noodles in the back.

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Map of 1 Chome-2-4 Sarugakuchō, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 101-0064

東京都千代田区猿楽町1-2-4
Tokyo, Chioda-ku, Sarugicho 1-2-4
Closest station: Jimbocho

Open 11:00-17:00
Closed Sundays