Every Tuesday night I find myself in Futakotamagawa, a station about 20 minutes west of Shibuya. The key here is in the station, as I teach a private English lesson at a cafe inside the station gates. After the hour, I hop back on the train, and since I never technically left the station, I save big on the train fare. But today I left the gates, paying the $4 fare, in search of an adventure in a new part of town and some noodles.
Futakotamagawa is amazingly upscale. Name brand goods only. The streets are cobblestone. The restaurants are... fancy. That goes for ramen too.
Ayu ramen is exactly what it's name suggests, ramen with ayu. Ayu is the name of the Japanese Sweetfish. If you've ever been in the countryside near a river, you'll see it being grilled in abundance, and eaten from a skewer. It's so delicate, that you can eat the whole thing, bones and all, without issue. Be warned, though, that it's often cooked with the innards still inside. You probably don't want to bite into that!
Here, it's been de-gutted. The ayu is given a quick char.
The noodles are given a quick boil.
And the finished product.
The soup is a very simple broth, with almost no flavor, just warmth. The reason is obvious, to bring out the ayu. A strong soup would simply overpower the light fish taste.
I found this shop in my "Girl's Ramen Club" book. Totally a relaxing place.
You can order a fried rice ball to toss in the left over soup, as the chef recommended.
At the end, he brought me a glass of house blended jasmine tea.
I asked the staff what shop they recommended I go to next, and not surprisingly they said MIST. I say not surprising, because Ayu and MIST are two of the most expensive shops in my guidebook. Not crazy expensive, just about double what you'd pay at a more run of the mill place.
Official site here
Shop info here