Tuesday, October 27, 2009

大つけ博: なんつッ亭 (Big Tsukemen Fair: Nantsuttei)



A sunny day after the typhoon had me riding my bike on an adventure back to the Big Tsukemen Fair. Last time I went, I was chatting online with Keizo from GoRamen just before I left. He urged me to go to Nantsuttei. What did I do? I went to Rokurinsha instead.


This time I followed Keizo's advice to a T.


I'd been to the shop in Ikebukuro a month or so past. But what we had here was totally out there. Most shops created their own special just for this event. Nantsuttei was no exception.


Basil flavored noodles. It worked really well for a sunny day eating tsukemen outside. Totally a relaxing dish.


Handed to me by Ichiro himself.

This Thursday, a new group of shops comes into play. I'm hoping to eat up Junk Garage and Nagi, at a minimum.

Monday, October 26, 2009

大つけ麺博 (I'll be at the Tsukemen Fair!)

A relevant shot of a bowl of Shoyu ramen from Ivan Ramen.

The big news in the ramen blogging world is Keizo's impending return adventure to Japan. He'll be employed at none other than top ramen shop Ivan Ramen. Talk abut living the ramen dream!

Not to steal his thunder or anything, but I'll be working for Ivan too... sort of. From November 5th to 11th, Ivan will be selling a special tsukemen at the Big Tsukemen Fair in Hibiya. I'll be there, serving up bowls of some amazing stuff. Unlike the standard porky soup that is the base of most tsukemen, Ivan has concocted a chicken based soup. It's flavorful and fresh. Check out a preview here.

I'll be there Saturday and Sunday, the 7th and 8th of November. We start serving at 11am, and the festival ends at 9pm. But chances are high that we will run out before the end. Why not show up around noon, have a bowl, then go get drunk in nearby Hibiya park?

The festival is outside at 日比谷パテオ, Hibita Patio, which is just outside exit A13 at Hibiya station. You can't miss it!

Once again, thats Saturday the 7th and Sunday the 8th. いっらしゃyませ!!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

大つけ博: 六厘舎 (Big Tsukemen Fair: Rokurinsha)



For the next 3 weeks, there is a tsukemen fair next to Hibiya park. Some of the top shops in Tokyo all created specials just for this event. You should go!


Every week, 6 different shops will show up to feed the masses. Grab your ticket!



One ticket gets you one bowl. I would have liked to see half size, so I could sample 2 or 3 bowls each time. I asked the guy holding a sign which he recommends.


Rokurinsha it is! He then warned me of a 10-15 minute line. Dude, I waited for an hour last week for TETSU, I can handle this.


Turns out that Rokurinsha is the hot new spot on the scene*. Maybe a trip to the actual shop is in the cards.


No choices, just the tsukemen.


Nice, some stewed pork I can option in. Each shop had one of these last minute impulse buys.


The noodles are cooked bulk, so if you are really picky, you might find fault in the mass produced method.


Lots of tables set out to sit at. Here's the final product.


The noodles were really thin, which is uncommon for tsukemen. The soup was very salty. I saw a group of guys with a stack of beer cans in front of them. Smart thinking!


You can buy gifts for your friends.


There are also some appearances by local talent. There was this dude.


I think I had seen him before on TV. Anyways, I asked one of the cute girls who looked like his groupie. She explained that he is on a show called シルシルミシル. It's one of those Japanese people eating things and saying it is good shows. He's famous with young and old alike! Then she sold me a $3 pack of stickers. Dude himself had no interest in talking with me though. And from this video I found on youtube:


... he ain't got the highest level of charisma.

Anyways, you should come to this fair between the 5th and 11th. I'll be volunteering some of my free time to help serve up some hot bowls. Ivan from Ivan Ramen is letting me help him out. I'll have more info soon, stay tuned!

*I've totally been here way back in the day. I'm bad with names.

Fair info
Shop info

Friday, October 16, 2009

大喜 (Daiki in Ueno)



I teach English at an adult school. As part of my introduction, I sometimes mention that I am crazy about ramen. This gets the obvious response, "What is your favorite flavor of ramen?" The answer is easy... all of em!


One of my students a few days ago lives in the same geographical area as me. We gave each other some local recomendations. I told him to go to Keisuke, and he told me to go to a place called Daiki, near Ueno park. I googled mapped it and it's right across from a big Don Quixote, and I needed to buy a pot and some taco seasoning and a Haloween costume (god bless you Donki!). It's also in the Yushima area, which is 2nd only to Kabukicho in Japanese style night entertainment. 680 yen won't get you far in this part of town... but it will get you a bowl of awesome shoyu ramen.


Actually, the specialty here is とりそば, chicken salt flavor, but they often run out. Get there early. I want to try this chicken wonton one in the near future.


Lot's of guys in there were drinking beer and having some snacks, before what I can assume to be an expensive night!

Shop info here

TETSU ラーメン (TETSU in Bunkyo)

TETSU ラーメン

I went to the very famous TESTU ramen shop almost 2 years ago. I remember it from the kanji in for tetsu, 哲, which means philosophy. But in ramen magazines, on ramen TV shows, and on the awning of the store, it just says TETSU.


When I saw the hour long line, I remembered the place instantly. The 400g of hot and cold noodles. The red hot stone you dump into your cooled down soup at the end. And the wait. Usually, a tsukemen place has a swift moving line. But TETSU is no ordinary tsukemen. This one is officially the longest I've waited. Over 1 hour.




Still worth it.


Something I noticed this time was a "how to eat this tsukemen" informational sheet. Well, it's better late than never to learn a valuable skill. Let's go!


Hey, I'm the boss here. Let me show you the super rad way to enjoy out tsukemen!


Tsukemen is noodles that you dip into soup.

"It's the same as zaru soba!"


Atsumori is noodles in hot broth.

"Skipjack tuna flavor, yo!"


Eat it quick! It should sound like ZUZOZOZOZOZO.

"Oh snap, the dipping sauce is flying everywhere!"


If you like, there are seasonings on the counter.

"We've got vinegar, pepper, and hot spice."


After eating the noodles, add some broth to dilute it.

"Mix it the way you like it, wouldn't you agree?"


If your soup is lukewarm, please ask for a hot stone.

"Take it easy!"


Put the spoon into the soup. It should sound like JUWAWAWAWAWAW.

"It's hot! Be careful!"


Drink the soup. When you exhale it should sound like PUHAaaaa.


Good luck!




Shop info here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

よってこや (Yottekoya in Bunkyo)



Kyoto style. That's what my book said. I recently bought a ramen guide to local style ramen from around Japan in Tokyo. 43 dubbed "ramen styles"... all available in this great metropolis.


One might assume that Kyoto style would be something uber-refined. Kaiseki ryori, Japanese haute cuisine, is analogous with Kyoto. If you pony up to $300 for a proper kaiseki course, expect a dozen or so courses, using only the freshest of seasonal ingredients, expertly prepared by someone trained from a young age, served on immaculate dishware.


This is why I was so surprised by Kyoto style ramen.


A greasy, garlicky mess.


Tons of suspended fat globules, which sound better if you just call it abura. Black garlic oil. Roasted pork. Lets look at the details.

The soup was ok. Pretty basic for this porky style. The addition of the garlic oil was a plus.

The charred pork on top was great. Crispy and tender at the same time. A+.

The noodles were some of the worst I'd had in Japan. I think they used a 20 cent bag of instant noodles. It really killed the dish.

You can choose black, white, or red. Mine is the black.


Nate from Waseda Ramen had the spicy red. He wasn't impressed either.

Shop info here.

胡心房 (Koshinbo in Machida, #30 in Japan)



The plan was to go to a shop called 69 N Roll One, out on the far edges of Tokyo in Machida. But they were closed, taking a few days to head up to the annual Nagano ramen festival. So Nate from Waseda Ramen and I found the closest ramen of quality, a place called Koshinbo.


Nate said to me, and I paraphrase here, "I think there's a shop around here with only chicks serving ramen created by a chick."

Ramen being a very "guy" thing in Japan, we had to check this out.


This could go one of two ways.
  1. A bunch of fat, drooling dudes coming to idolize the ladies serving up their favorite sustenance.
  2. A female friendly shop that anyone is comfortable in
Luckily #2 was the reality. They even have a ladies set which comes with salad. I left my wig at home, so I had to get the standard. Nate added cheese to his, and I went with an extra serving of the house menma.


Well done ladies. A very solid bowl.



Nozu Rie, the owner here, really made a bowl that anyone could get behind. And for someone who is high on the ramen fame-o-meter, she is surprisingly humble, clearing tables and welcoming people to the store. Usually, the more famous a shop gets, the meaner the master's grimace gets. It's nice to see nice food for the nice people.


I had no idea, but this is #30 on my outdated Top 30 in Japan list. Keep in mind, everyone's a critic and there are at least 3 major top of the game lists that come out in various publications or TV shows each month out here.

Shop info here.