Thursday, June 22, 2017

みつヰ (Mitsui in Asakusa)

麺 みつヰ


Mitsui is located down a small, quiet alley in otherwise crowded Asakusa. Asakusa has, with the massive increase of tourism in Japan, become a bit crazy. New hotels, both corporate and boutique, provide hundreds more beds a night in this famous part of town on Tokyo's east side.

I'm a west side guy, so I don't make it out too often, but every time seems to be crazier.

I hate sending people to ramen shops that have a huge line of foreigners and English menus, so finding Mitsui was a blessing.


The shop serves Kitakata-style ramen, made famous in Tokyo at Shichisai. In fact, this shop has a direct connection to them, with the hand-massaged noodles being a big point.


Shio or shoyu. Both are light and refreshing.


The noodles are pressed by hand before boiling, and have a chewier texture than ones that weren't given the five-star treatment.

Everyone who visits Japan should try this style, it's often an eye-opening meal. Simple ingredients with deep flavor. I can't think of many shops as close to the tourism center of Tokyo that bring this level of slurp.


Official site here.


Map of 2 Chome-10-4 Nishiasakusa, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0035

Tokyo, Taito-ku, Nishiasakusa 2-10-4
Closest station: Asakusa

Open 11:00-14:30, 17:30-21:00
Weekends 11:00-16:00
Closed Mondays

Monday, June 19, 2017

らーめん 改 (Kai in Kuramae)

らーめん 改


There are many mini trends in the Tokyo ramen world, and this year one of those is clams. Sure, long-standing favorites Hototogisu and Mugitooribu have incorporated a clam broth into their soup, and newer Sora as well, but there are more.

Clams give a wonderful umami aftertaste, and whether you go full on shellfish, or just use it as an accent, this is a trend I am behind.


Kai serves a few bowls, but the one that put the new shop on the map is their clam salt ramen - 貝塩らーめん.


The master takes Japanese little neck clams (アサリ) as a base, and adds mussels (ムール貝) and scallops (ホタテ) as an accent. This triple shellfish broth is enough to send anyone with an allergy straight to the emergency room.


Topped with simple, legit toppings, Kai is one to watch.


I noticed on the side of the ticket machine, they have many, many limited bowls. Clam Chowder Ramen? Yes, please!


This was for one of my ramen tours, and everyone came away a winner.


For those who follow my site, be aware that this is a new shop that hasn't blown up yet, so the line is only set to get longer. Enjoy.


Map of 4 Chome-20-10 Kuramae, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0051

Tokyo, Taito-ku, Kuramae 4-20-12
Closest station: Kuramae

Open 11:00-15:00, 17:30-21:00
Closed Mondays

Thursday, June 15, 2017

進化 (Shinka in Machida)

町田汁場 しおらーめん進化 町田駅前店


Shinka is one of Machida's most revered shops. But, for some reason, when they opened a second shop, they did so only about one kilometer away. Hunh?


Well, this newer one is technically closer to the station, so I guess that is cool.


Same great chicken ramen flavored with a Japanese salt blend. Very high quality.

Shinka is very popular among ramen chefs. If you want to know where ramen chefs eat ramen, Shinka is on that list.


Upon further inspection, they have a 淡口醤油 - light soy sauce ramen - that is only at this branch. I may have to come back for that some day, even though this is one of Tokyo's best shio bowls.


Expect a short line up the stairs to the second floor shop.


Map of 1 Chome-12-13 Morino, Machida-shi, Tōkyō-to 194-0022

Tokyo, Machida-shi, Morino 1-12-13
Closest station: Machida

Open 11:00-15:00, 17:30-22:00

Monday, June 12, 2017

おやじ (Oyaji in Sagamihara)

ラーメンおやじ 本店


Oyaji in Machida is one of the best miso ramen shops in town. But, actually, the Machida branch is just that, a branch. I finally, about six years later, made it to their main shop.


The menu has a few options, but you should go for the おやじ麺 - oyajimen - on your first time.  Or go spicy. Or special if you want all the toppings.


As with most ramen shops, the upper left button on the ticket machine is the winner.


So good. The miso is blended with lard to give it a creamy, rich aspect. Simple toppings to match the complex soup.


They make their original miso blend onsite, and if you are lucky enough you can catch them doing it.


The sign says "Feel free to take photos of us making the miso." Unfortunately, they weren't doing it when I was there.


I didn't sense a difference from their Machida shop, which might be more convenient.


Map of 1 Chome-3-1 Chūō, Chūō-ku, Sagamihara-shi, Kanagawa-ken 252-0239

Kanagawa-ken, Sagamihara-shi, Chuo-ku, Chuo 1-3-1
Closest station: Sagamihara

Open 10:30-1:00am

Thursday, June 8, 2017

二代目 げんこつ屋 (Genkotsuya at the Shin-Yohokama Raumen Museum)

二代目 げんこつ屋


We crushed a bowl at newly opened Yuji Ramen at the Shin Yokohama Raumen Museum, but I was with some ramen beasts and we had room for another.


Of the shops here, the only one I hadn't been to was Genkotsuya. Easy choice.


They use this ancient noodle machine that cuts the noodles very short. If you are lucky, you can see them running it. We weren't so lucky.


It's a heavy broth made with chicken, pork, and tuna. Really tender chashu!

I didn't make a video, but the fine folks at the museum did. Check it out!


Map of 2 Chome-14-21 Shinyokohama, Kōhoku-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken 222-0033

神奈川県横浜市港北区新横浜2-14-21 新横浜ラーメン博物館
Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Minatokita-ku, Shinyokohama 2-14-21
Closest station: Shin-Yokohama

Open 11:00-22:00
Saturday 11:00-22:30
Sunday 10:30-22:00

Monday, June 5, 2017

YUJI at the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum



Straight from Brooklyn comes Yuji Ramen!

This new shop at the Yokohama Raumen Museum brings something unique.


Yuji Haraguchi has a history in the fish selling industry, and he wanted to make food that utilizes the waste, namely all the fish bones that get thrown out. Soup is a perfect choice, and tuna heads and bones can be had on the cheap.

He also serves up a few mazesoba dishes. Yuji made his name doing a mazesoba popup in Whole Foods back in New York. The Bacon and Egg soba is the bomb.


Please watch my YouTube video for more, I didn't really take any photos this time around.


Official site here.


Map of 2 Chome-14-21 Shinyokohama, Kōhoku-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken 222-0033

神奈川県横浜市港北区新横浜2-14-21 新横浜ラーメン博物館
Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Minatokita-ku, Shinyokohama 2-14-21
Closest station: Shin-Yokohama

Open 11:00-22:00
Saturday 11:00-22:30
Sunday 10:30-22:00

Thursday, June 1, 2017

さんじ (Sanji in Ueno)



One valuable resource for hot new shops is Instagram, and the feed on my 'gram was blowing up with photos from Sanji. I made it a point to go as soon as possible.


Well, I really wanted to try their Crazy Crab bowl, but then I showed up to this sign. Today we are serving duck soba only.

Oh well, I'll give it a try.


Hinomaru Sanji is their Friday-only, duck shop.




I wasn't blown away, but it was a decent slurp to say the least.


I bought a sticker on the way out. See you again soon!


Soon came much sooner than I thought.


I've recently started doing tours through Airbnb, The concept of this one is Ramen Adventures, and we visit two shops that I've never been to. Travelers get to experience life as a ramen blogger. A perfect chance to head back to Sanji.


Yes! This one was amazing.

The soup is a creamy pork broth with shoyu as the main seasoning. A crab flavored oil coats everything, giving it an ocean taste that isn't too fishy. We rarely see crab in ramen, and this unexpected flavor was a hit to the senses.

Topped with rare chashu and some quail eggs. You can top it with extra quail eggs - うずら - for 50 yen a piece. Some people had five or six. Go as big as you want, each one is a flavor bomb.


Glad I came back!


Map of 3 Chome-25-12 Higashiueno, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 110-0015

Tokyo, Taito-ku, Higashiueno 3-25-12
Closest station: Ueno

Open 11:00-15:00, 18:00-21:00
Saturday 11:00-15:00
Closed Sundays