Saturday, August 31, 2013

2013 Grand Tsukemen Fest English Page!

Grand TSUKEMEN Fest.

Announcing the official English page for the 2013 Grand Tsukemen Fest!

Now you can see which shops will be serving their signature tsukemen each week of the festival. Warning, this page will make you hungry!

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Will Tomita, Japan's #1 ranked tsukemen shop and winner of last year's Grand Tsukemen Fest, defend their belt? Or will another solid shop, like Ganja or Rokurinsha, take home the win. Or maybe one of the less traditional bowls; miso tsukemen from Men Furaido in Hokkaido or chicken paitan tsukemen from Kimuzukashiya.

From October 10th, this event is going to take Shinjuku by storm. 11am until 9pm everyday, you can join the fun. I'm looking forward to seeing some of you there. Keep an eye on the Ramen Adventure Google+ page for updates, including meetups and more tidbits about the event.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

ローリング蕎麦ット (Rolling Sobat in Shibuya)



Who put soba in my tsukemen? Who put tsukemen in my soba?


Rolling Sobat makes very little sense, both culinary and visually, but we like that. The atmosphere is inspired by the long history of pro wrestling in Japan. Masked fighters battling in their own signature style. The Rolling Sobat is an actual move; a jumping, spinning back kick meant to send an opponent to the floor.


You see what they did? The move is written as ローリングソバット (roringu sobatto). Substitute 蕎麦, the kanji for the noodles, and you have a fun little play on words.


Anyways, they serve soba. Traditional buckwheat soba.


Soba has a long history in Japan, predating ramen by centuries. The buckwheat noodles are served almost exclusively with a simple dashi; a broth made from konbu kelp and dried bonito fish flakes. Topping are minimal, though mountain vegetables or maybe some tempura are commonly seen as additions.


Rolling Sobat, on the other hand, makes a meaty pork broth. Everything about this bowl screams Tokyo tsukemen; everything but the noodles. And it works. You miss out on the bite, that chewy texture that you can only get from wheat noodles made with kansui alkaline water.


Conveniently located in Shibuya (across from one of the best Japanese micro-brew bars Goodbeer Faucets). Definitely check this one out when you are in the mood for something a little different.


Facebook page here.

Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Enyamacho 1-19
Closest station: Shibuya

Open 11:00-Midnight

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

とみ田と病院 (Convenience Store Tsukemen in the Hospital)

So, this happened.

The ramen adventure here is overshadowed, eclipsed more like it, by the reason for my hospitalization.

Driving home by motorcycle on Honandori, just past famous the famous ramen shop Eifukucho Taishoken, I was cut off and hit by a black car. Hit and run. It was a low speed crash, but the bike fell on me just right. Just enough to transfer all the energy of the impact into the fibula and tibia bones of my leg.

The above CT scan illustrates my point.


The first couple of days after the accident were spent in traction. Immobile, except for my right arm. Luckily, all I need to eat ramen is my right arm!


Tomita is one of the highest ranked tsukemen shops in Japan. The shop has a perpetual line; often over an hour. Well, if you don't want to wait, or make the trek out to Chiba, you can pick up a limited edition, ready-to-eat bowl at your local 7-11.


This isn't instant by any means. The noodles are cooked, and the toppings are real. Even the tiny slivers of yuzu peel are fresh.

Yes, the whole deal has a bit of a factory-made feel to it, and this pales in comparison to the original. But the fact that someone, pent up in a hospital, can enjoy a real bowl of tsukemen with ease is a testament to ramen culture in Japan.

By the way, Tomita will once again be at this year's Grand Tsukemen Fest from October 17th. They are the defending champ of the all-tsukemen festival, so expect a line.


Abram, Hiroshi, and Kei delivered this tasty treat. Big thanks to all my ramen fans who came through during visiting hours. You guys don't know how monotonous the hospital stay was, and I am grateful for your visits.


I'm now at my apartment recovering. The surgery went very well, and there was almost no pain about 12 hours after. Modern science is amazing. I can't put weight on it for about another month, but this is just how it goes. Wheelchairs and leg braces are my reality for a while.  That's another way of saying that Ramen Adventures will be taking a bit of a break (pun totally intended!) for a bit. I have a couple reviews queued up, but my streak of a new review every two days has officially ended.

Thank you for understanding.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

ましこ亭 (Mashikotei in Tachikawa)



Anytime I come to Tachikawa, I check out what's new at the NY Ramen Square. Less than a couple minutes from the station, this ramen stadium boasts eight shops in an unexplained New York theme. There are some long running standards, like Samurai, as well as the famous "Ramen Tryout" shops.


Gotta try the tryout.


Beef ramen. With sides of different beef dishes. Roast beef plate, stewed beef, Korean style beef. It would have been nice to try a few, but when the ramen comes out to 1200 yen, the budget has already been broken.


What's with the slice of beef placed on my spoon?

This was a weak bowl. Despite being loaded with tasty-looking things, the soup was forgettable. And those tasty-looking things? Not so tasty.

Once again, beef ramen disappoints. Just go to Matador.


東京都立川市柴崎町3-6-29 アレアレア2 3F
Tokyo, Tachikawa-shi, Shibasakicho 3-6-29
Closest station: Tachikawa

Open 11:00-24:00

Friday, August 23, 2013

どっかん (Dokkan in Hatagaya)



The once-a-week shop in Hattagaya just opened a second branch. The new Dokkan is Dokkan all the time.

Explanation. One of my favorite shops in Tokyo is actually three shops. On Mondays, it becomes Dokkan, a rich shoyu soup topped with mounds of seabura. Pork fat. Tuesday to Friday the shops is called Gamushara, serving a ginger heavy shoyu ramen. On the weekends, Yahiko serves miso tsukemen and ramen.

I as ecstatic when Dokkan, my favorite of the three, would open as a second shop just down the road.


The menu looks to be exactly the same.


How much seabura do you want? Yes, this is pork back fat, which sounds better if you just keep to the Japanese word. Seabura is silky and rich. Go for the 鬼あぶ - devil's size -  if you are in the mood.


They've only been open for a week, which is why I'll forgive them for something being off. It was still good, and I will probably go here anytime I am drinking in the neighborhood, but the impact of the original just wasn't there.


Or maybe it was that I was there for lunch, when the original Dokkan was strictly a late night spot for me.

By the way, this spot is the former location of Sejiken, which I think might be the worst ramen I ever had in my life.


Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Hattagaya 2-19-2
Closest station: Hattagaya

Open 11:30-14:30, 18:30-24:00
Closed Wednesdays

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ramen Adventures TV Spot! - 知っとこ


TBS Ramen.mp4_snapshot_00.30_[2013.06.14_18.47.02].jpg


Satomi Shigemori's character is cute and clueless. A well-known idol / talent / bikini model, if you watch TV with any regularity in Japan you should see her face pop up. As always, we took her around to some ramen shops. This time was a double dose of ramen-loving foreigners, with Abram and I hitting up both Fuunji and Gamushara.

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Why these two shops? They are both walking distance to our apartments, and they are both legit. That's why!

TBS Ramen.mp4_snapshot_07.08_[2013.06.14_18.49.13].jpg

Our best 3?

  • Matador for the beef based ramen
  • Kikanbo for their spice
  • Fuunji for the creamy chicken gyokai tsukemen.

Fun shoot, and I got recognized the day after it aired by the bar I was drinking at. Why the late-night crowd was up at 7am watching TV, I have no idea.

Monday, August 19, 2013

2013 Grand Tsukemen Fest List Announced!

Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Grand Tsukemen Fest preliminary voting. The winners are from all over the country, so I haven't been to most of their shops. Stay tuned for a lot more info, but for now . . .

Are you hungry?


These are the 24 that you can sample at this years Grand Tsukemen Fest in Tokyo!