Thursday, February 16, 2017

三丁目そば (Sanchome Soba in Okinawa)

三丁目そば

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I'm sure I've complained about travel in the past. Well, I'll do it again.

My weekend gig sends me all over the country. This is a great opportunity to slurp. I took advantage last year, when they sent me to Okinawa in November, to slurp Yanbaru, Stripe, and Kishimoto. Head down early on a Wednesday, spend three days cruising around slurping noodles, and then head back.

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But this time, I had an engagement during the week, so I was only in Naha, the main Okinawa city, for a night. I asked my fellow Awamori drinkers at a food stand near the hotel if there was a good shop, and they said the only one open was Sanchome. This was my only choice for Okinawa's sokisoba.

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Just past Chocolate Milk Street.

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Wow, I forgot how cheap eats are the further south you go. Only 450 yen for the standard bowl.

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I went with the 700 yen version, which included a few more toppings.

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Meh is my review. I've had some great food on Okinawa, so I'm not pulling any punches. Sokisoba is always done with a very light soup, which was almost flavorless in this case. The toppings, the trifecta of Okinawa, weren't the best. Fish cake, pork belly, and rib meat were present, but nowhere near as hearty as hoped.

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See you next year. My 2017 goals include taking full advantage of my working situation. If I get sent to Okinawa, I'll block off a few days for noodles. Okinawa requires time and transportation. While Naha is packed, the best noodles are on the other side of the island.

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Map of 3 Chome-26-1 Kumoji, Naha-shi, Okinawa-ken 900-0015

沖縄県那覇市久茂地3-26-1
Okinawa, Naha-shi, Kumoji 3-26-1
Closest station: The airport?

Monday, February 13, 2017

豚星。(Butaboshi in Hiyoshi )

豚星。

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Butaboshi is very highly ranked. 98.41 on the Ramendb, which is impressive.

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When I arrived, I instantly understood. The Ramendb is heavily weighted by Jiro lovers, and Butaboshi is Jiro-style.

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The only thing thicker than the noodles is the soup. Scratch that, the chunks of pork are thicker still.

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I'm not a fan of this style, and I felt bad for leaving what looked like half the bowl when I left. But, as I know from experience, the human body is not meant to overeat ramen of this caliber.

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Try it for yourself, but only if you are a fan. The location is out of the way.

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Another warning, you will stink after this one. Garlic and rendered pork fat. But some people love that sort of thing.

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Map of 4 Chome-5-20 Kizuki, Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken 211-0025

神奈川県川崎市中原区木月4-5-20
Kanagawa-ken, Kawasaki-shi, Nakahara-ku, Otsuki 4-5-20
Closest station: Hiyoshi

Open 11:00-23:00
Closed Sundays

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Nachosoba at ajito ism in Oimachi

ajito ism

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One of my favorite shops in Tokyo is ajito ism. Their regular menu includes their famous pizza mazesoba, a soupless pizza-themed noodle dish.

Well, the master loves his off-the-wall creations. In fact, he has around 50 of them. Any day here and you will see one on the board. Today's special.

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Today's special was nachosoba. A sauce made from Japanese miso and Mexican spices, topped with all manner of Mexican themed toppings. Corn chips, ground chorizo, nacho cheese. The master is either a genius, or insane.

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I come here on random Wednesdays, as the shop is near a school I teach English at occasionally.

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I'm always looking forward to the next thing. Like I said, he had a folder with around 50 of his creations.

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Miura-san, the shop's chef, used to work at cafes. He honed a cooking style of tasty comfort food, and then brought that over to his ramen. Many people have laughed, even called some of his things the complete opposite of ramen. But he doesn't care. Customers vote with their yen, and the shop is usually packed.

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The only thing outnumbering the customers are the collectible figures displayed in glass cases on the wall. Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and of course,

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Breaking Bad. I haven't seen if he has a meth-blue lunch special, but I wouldn't be surprised.

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Map of 1 Chome-37-4 Ōi, Shinagawa-ku, Tōkyō-to 140-0014

東京都品川区大井1-37-4
Tokyo, Shinagawa-ku, Oimachi 1-37-4
Closest station: Oimachi

Open 11:00-14:00, 17:30-20:00
Saturday 11:00-14:00
Closed Thursdays and Sundays

Monday, February 6, 2017

純 (Jun at the Tokyo Ramen Street)

とんこつらーめん 俺式 純

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I had plans to take my friends on a ramen adventure. We'd wait in a long line and slurp something tasty, you know, Tokyo style ramen hunting.

But this was November 24th, 2016, the first November day in 52 years with snow in Tokyo. Waiting outside in a long line wasn't ideal.

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To the Tokyo Ramen Street! I haven't been in a while, and the shops are slowly changing. Of the eight current shops, I've only been to half.

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Jun is a tonkotsu style from the Setagaya group. It was very standard. Not that that is a bad thing; I find most tonkotsu style ramen in Tokyo to be very standard.

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The shop's original spice mix is a welcome addition.

Personally, if I had to recommend a shop at the Tokyo Ramen Street, I would go with Soranoiro.

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東京都千代田区丸の内1-9-1
Tokyo Station

Open 10:30-23:30

Thursday, February 2, 2017

麺魚 (Mengyo in Kinshicho)

真鯛らーめん 麺魚

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Rookie of the year. At least that is the rank awarded to Mengyo by TRY (Tokyo Ramen of the Year) magazine. You can grab a copy here, or just take my word for it. Their choices are usually spot on, but I had to find out for myself.

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The shop is literally noodle fish, and beautiful seabream imagery is all over the shop.

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真鯛 - madai - to be exact. Red seabream is seen as a lucky fish, and beautiful plates of it are usually served on auspicious occasions. One bowl of lucky ramen, coming up!

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Where do I start. Most people are drawn to that mound of chashu on the top. It's smoked in house with cherry wood.

The soup is a mix of seabream and creamy chicken broth. Any fishiness is cut by the grated yuzu citrus. And what a soup it is. Seabream has been used in the past at a few shops around Tokyo, but I've never seen it paired with such a thick chicken broth.

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The egg is worth mentioning.

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A cooking syringe comes into play. How else are you going to inject the soup into the egg?

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Love it.

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The line is big for this one. On the first snowy November day in 52 years, there were still a couple dozen patrons waiting. This was a weekday, so expect the weekend to be rough. You've been warned. You've also been told; this bowl is stellar.

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Arigataidesu!

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Map of 2 Chome-5-3 Kōtōbashi, Sumida-ku, Tōkyō-to 130-0022

東京都墨田区江東橋2-5-3
Tokyo, Sumida-ku, Kotobashi 2-5-3
Closest station: Kinshicho

Open 11:00-until soup sunds out
Closed Mondays