Tuesday, January 5, 2010

麺屋武蔵 (Menya Musashi in Shinjuku)



An adventure to the Yokohama ramen museum was the adventure of the day. I woke up early, packed my camera, and caught the 10:45 Yamanote train to Shinjuku station. Fellow ramen nut Nate was there. Two more would be joining us soon. Or not. Due to some circumstances that have no business being on a ramen blog, the rest of our group couldn't make it. Plan B. So where to go?


News stand to the rescue. In Japan, you will never find a news stand without at least one or two ramen magazines.


What did I tell ya. We thumbed through the local shops, trying to figure out what looked good. Then we saw it, the original Menya Musashi.


Only a couple minutes walk from the station.


Musashi is a reference to the warrior Miyamoto Musashi, the famed master of double sword style. How would the legendary swordsman feel about a chain of ramen shops opening in his name?


Probably ok, since their salary for new "warriors" is quite high. 1200 yen hourly, or for the full timers, 323,000 yen. That's more than I make!


Waiting in the line of about 20 people (18 of which fit inside the store), you can see what's in store. Yes please!


Not sure why, but out of the dozen seats, maybe 10 people were eating the tsukemen. Not me, the thought of that giant, juicy 角煮, kakuni pork, looks amazing.


It should be noted that Musashi is really really famous. The shop exploded onto the ramen scene in 1996, winning acclaim from the budding world of ramen craziness. This is a pioneer in, well, good ramen. Since then, they have opened 8 shops, each one varying slightly. My favorite branch is the Kichijoji one, which has seasonal experimental noodles coming and going quite often.


The decor is fun. Have a seat!


You can choose the strength of the broth, and the size of the bowl. Today I went with weak soup and big size. And it was good. The pork is really decadent. Stewed in sweet Japanese wine and soy sauce for hours, it melts like butter.


The strong soup version isn't too much stronger.


And the tsukemen was so-so. It's winter now, so I want my soup and noodles hot. I'll be back to some tsukemen in, say, June.


The staff of about 10 are very animated, especially the head noodle guy. With a swift motion of a samurai executing a blow in a duel, he shakes the noodles out of the water and puts them into your bowl. Trust me, you'll hear it from outside on the street, before you see it.


This shop is a safe bet for visitors as well as ramen veterans alike.

Official Website

More Shop Info Here


Tanya said...

Just discovered your blog about my ultimate comfort food!

Keep blogging and make me more jealous! I wish to visit Japan sometime just to have some real ramen.. and of course.. sashimi. :)

Ramen Adventures said...

Thanks Tanya. Good sashimi, I'm a fan. But if I ate as much of that as I do ramen, I wouldn't be able to afford rent-

Blair said...

Hey Brian,
I recently visited Japan on my own ramen adventure, and made it to Menya Musashi after reading your review. Wow! That kakuni pork was incredible. Between Menya Musashi, the tsukemen at Tetsu, and Bassanova's green curry ramen, I was in heaven.
Keep up the good work!

oilymouth said...

I stumbled upon and went there every day when I was visiting Japan... I miss it so much :(

Anonymous said...

My email is hamathon@gmail.com I want to work for free in Japan and make ramen.. Could you help me?

Ramen Adventures said...

Try contacting Ivan Ramen or Basanova. They have both hired foreigners before.

DanielFoodDiary said...

I love Menya Musashi, one of the best :)

Steve said...

Brian, this was where I had my first bowl of real ramen.
Back when I was maintaining a web blog (they were still occasionally referred to as "E-Zines"), I mentioned it.
Of course, I have learned a lot since then. It must have been pork that I had. But it did not taste like pork. I recall saying "futsu" to the ramen-ya's queries.
I did manage to find the Musashi in Ueno on a subsequent day. Staff at the Juyoh Hotel helped me translate the map drawings.