Monday, November 16, 2015

イチカワ (Ichikawa in Tsukuba)

煮干中華ソバ イチカワ

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The weather for late October was surprisingly warm and clear. The perfect riding weather. I put out a quick call for a ramen ride, but with short notice no one had the time. A solo ride out to Tsukuba was no problem, especially for the bowl at Ichikawa.

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The line at 11am, 30 minutes before the shop opens, was almost 40 deep. What is even more impressive is that Ichikawa only serves 80 bowls a day before they close.

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This is what they came for. One of the most sought after bowls of niboshi ramen in Japan. The master wore a shirt proclaiming the addictive quality of niboshi, and I agree. Soups made with copious amounts of dried sardines have an almost drug-like umami effect.

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If you don't absolutely love these flavors, you might want to reconsider. Even the vinegar is spiked with the good stuff.

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And the egg. I watched as the only other employee - I'm assuming it was the master's wife - used a syringe to inject the shop's tare seasoning liquid directly into the yolk before serving.

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Wow. I used to say that high quality eggs were hard to give any sort of ranking to. Good was good. But now I have a number one.

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Tsukuba isn't considered much of a rider's hangout. Regardless, the ride over the mountain was nice, and a quick dip into a local onsen hot spring was a necessity.

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By the way, for those who are concerned about the line. In line at 11am, the shop opened at 11:30, sat down at around 12:30, and was out the door just before 1pm. Good luck.

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Official blog here.

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Map of 2 Chome-9-2 Amakubo, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki-ken 305-0005

茨城県つくば市天久保2-9-2
Ibaraki-ken, Tsukuba-shi, Amakubo 2-9-2
Closest station: Tsukuba

Open 11:30 until they run out
Closed Sundays