Tuesday, April 13, 2010

覆麺 (Fukumen in Jimbocho)



Ramenate was back in town. As per tradition, we had to make our 2 week reunion memorable. Thanks to a newcomer on the ramen blog scene, NOODLEHOLIC, I was itching for a shop I'd heard about many times in the past, but never had the chance to get to. Today's adventure comes in a few parts.


Yeah, the shop is an orange building, no signage. Just a wrestling mask to guide you.


Fukumen is actually a part of the Ganko family. I recently had some stellar bowls at the shop near Takadanobaba and in Ikebukuro. I even inadvertently visited the Osaka shop waaaay back in July 2007, years before my interest in the noodles of the gods. But this shop in Jimbocho isn't just a branch, isn't just another protege of of the master. This is the master himself. take a look at the family tree, he's right at the tippity top.


Ganko is one of my favorites, that's for sure. As I was riding my bicycle to the shop, Nate called me on my phone.

"Dude, it's.... members only"


That's right, this shop is members only on weekdays. Say what?

The logic is that the master only wants to serve his limited soup to people who truly enjoy it. His heart goes into every bowl, and he expects his loyal customers to respond in kind. Don't worry though, it's a free for all on the weekends.


So we were met with a dilemma. Since it was a weekday, and we were not members, what can we do?
  • As a foreigner in Japan, people often play the "I don't understand" card. This is ok for getting out of a speeding ticket, but maybe not the coolest move at a ramen shop.
  • We could just give up and come back on the weekend. The least desirable option, since we were hungry.
  • We could just wing it and see what happens. Let's go with that one.
Walking in, we were asked for our member's cards, then politely told that this is a members only shop. Explaining our situation, and mentioning the referral from NOODLEHOLIC, we heard the two syllables we wanted. Dozo. Please come in.


I had the Dragon style ramen. Oh, by the way, the shop staff sometimes wear Mexican wrestling masks. Sometimes.



What came was an amazing bowl, dotted with secret ingredients and full of rich flavors.


Spices, oils, and meats. A real success.


Make sure you drink every last drop. It won't be too hard, though the spicy level was above average.


Having successfully enjoyed the entire bowl, we were presented with something wonderful. Our own member cards. This not only entitles us entrance any day of the week, but also to other toppings. You can't get extra spicy if you haven't polished off the normal spice now, can you!


By the way, one of Ganko's things is that they make something experimental once a month. This month, on April 24th is a seafood heavy broth, and an egg flavored with red wine. Who wants to come with?

** A note about this particular ramen adventure. Dropping someone's name as a means to gain entry into a member's only shop is risky for everyone involved. Nate and I have no problem finishing off every last drop (though Nate didn't eat every bit of pork in his, which he apologized for at the end), speaking Japanese, and respecting the shop. This particular shop is open to anyone on the weekends. If you are a reader of my blog, please visit this shop on a Saturday or Sunday. **

Official Site Here
More Shop Info Here

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Daniel said...

Hi! I've been reading and thoroughly enjoying your blog. I've only just begun getting into ramen, but would love to delve into the nitty gritty of it.

Anyway, I'd love to come out and try that new ganko ramen.


Tweedy said...

Thank you for introduce my blog. I'm looking foward to meet you. Talk to you soon.

Eva said...

Hi, I was planning on going to Tokyo again and was wondering what you would list on your top ramen places to go to...I've been reading a lot of your reviews but..there are so many..haha..thanks!

Michael said...

Free day in on the 24th? Count me in... I've been trying to get into a bowl from Ikebukuro Ganko for sometime now but my timing is horrible and on two separate occasions I was met with closed doors!

Monica said...

I'm always interested in new adventures in food and friends. You have no idea who I am, but maybe that will change very quickly on the 24??

Brian said...

@Daniel - You seem to be on the right track with your blog

@Tweedy - Back at you

@Eva - The NY Times article has a lot of my favorite shops. Use that as a guide and you'll be good to go!

@Michael and Monica and Daniel - Ganko on the 24th at 11?

Monica said...

i'm there!

Brian said...

I'll be there at noon tomorrow!

Jon said...

Saw the mask and bowl on a random walk months ago, then wandered by it again and was prompted to look it up - finding all the posts from you guys. Finally made it there last night. This was indeed an incredible bowl. No problems with membership, despite the Monday night, but I dried the bowl and am now a member too.
Experimental day is the 26th this month, I'm thinking of going for lunch.

Kurt Mifsud Bonnici said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

Great blog!

So, I stumbled upon this place a few weeks ago, before reading this post, and like Jon, had no trouble with not having a member's card. Also, I didn't drink all the soup (never do), yet the master didn't seem to care---and presented me with a member's card. Great bowl and place.

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