I showed up to Motenashi Kuroki early in July. The special of the week was a simple shio tsukemen. Fantastic. But this is the start of the hottest season in Japan. Summer temperatures soar into the high 30s, even hitting the 40s on the worst of days. And while I despise the heat (and the humidity!), it means that hiyashichuka is back.
Hiyashi means cool, and limited release cold noodle dishes let chefs have a little fun, making things that they normally wouldn't keep on their menu.
I asked Kuroki-san if he would have a limited summer ramen. Of course! In fact, he was planning to have a new one every week.
Here are the first three. I'll try and make it to them all, though I can't guarantee anything. Do yourself a favor and head down to Akihabara Station and check out whatever he has going on. Get there early, as many, many ramen otaku will be lining up every day.
I'm a huge fan of tantanmen, so this one was right up my alley. It started with some fragrant negi oil. Nira and a creamy sesame sauce rounded out the liquid part. Add to that homemade komatsuna (a type of Japanese leafy vegetable) noodles and a chicken and tomato mince. Finally, top the whole thing with homemade rayu (spicy oil) and a red miso drizzle. Crazy!
Next was something I'm not the biggest fan of . . . natto. Fermented, slimy, stinky soy beans. But good natto isn't so bad, and this was some good natto. Paired with scallions and a colorful mix of lightly pickled vegetables, this one was very Japanese.
A very special niboshi tare oil rounded out the flavors.
Next came this one. Wheat noodles with a luxurious bonito jelly sauce. Toppings included corned beef, roast tomato, and an onion marinade.
What will he make next?!?
Check out my original Kuroki post here for more info.
And check out Kuroki-san's blog for daily updates to what he has. These limited hiyashi bowls are fun, but if you haven't had his shio ramen, you should go as soon as you can, it is top notch.