Monday, October 29, 2018

ハルピンラーメン本店 (Harupin in Suwa, Nagano)


Harupin is a mini-chain of shops up in Suwa, Nagano. I've been to another branch, but each shop has their own personality.

By the way, March may be perfect motorcycle weather, low 20s with beautiful blue skies, but some of the mountain passes are still closed. This route would normally be 20 minutes of spirited twisties. Instead, we spent three hours looking for a detour. Good times.

Nice prices! Just 650 yen for their signature bowl.

The signature Harupin ramen is heavy on miso and heavy on garlic. It's a rad countryside bowl, and most customers go with extra noodles and extra garlic.

Gyoza loaded with nira, a garlicky spice common in Japan.

They usually have some sort of limited bowl on offer. This time was a meat-loaded Jiro-style. Not for me!

Ok, maybe just a bite or two.Yes, that is about five cloves of garlic on top. Standard.

Harupin is a local shop loved by locals. If you ever find yourself travelling through the Suwa Lake part of Nagano, you should swing by.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

中華そば 吾衛門 (Goemon in Hachioji)

中華そば 吾衛門

Ramen Riders!

Well, I didn't take any bike photos in front of the shop, but this was the first stop on a cross-country motorcycle ride with my friend Igor, who runs Karma Ramen in Vienna, Austria. We were headed west, and Hachioji seemed like a good lunch stop.

普段あまりお店の前でバイクと写真は取らない私ですが、オーストリア(ウィーン)でKarma Ramenを経営している友人Igorとクロスカントリーで西側へ向かっていたのでちょうど八王子がランチには丁度よい所でした。

Goemon opened in Showa 34, aka 1959. It is labeled as a regular chukasoba, but ramen nerds will tell you that this is actually Hachioji-style.

What is Hachioji-style? It is simple.

中華そば 吾衛門は昭和34年創業(1959年)、中華そばとメニューにありますがこれこそラーメンヲタクの間では八王子スタイルと言われています。


Lot's of fresh minced onion as a topping. Other aspects include a deep pork-based soup and heavily seasoned chashu. Oh, and it should be super cheap. This bowl is 500 yen, less than $5.

This bowl is very good, and should be on any ramen nerd's list to check out. Hachioji isn't close to Tokyo, but it isn't too far. Make a day of it and go hiking at nearby Takao-san. Expect a line on any day.



Monday, October 22, 2018

たなつものSHOKUDOU (Tanatsumono Shokudo in Fukushima)


More of a ramen adventure this time around.

Tanatsumono Shokudo is actually a shop that specializes in dry-aged beef. The menu is like an izakaya, with drinks and snacks galore. Their simple tori paitan uses locally raised chicken and a light array of toppings, served separately. The idea is that you gorge yourself on beef and then finish with some ramen carbs.

The only problem was that a single diner couldn't order a single serving of beef. I could either go with a $30 slab of wagyu or nothing. I asked if they would make an exception and they would not, even though the beef is sliced to order.

The ramen was mega light, with only a subtle chicken flavor going on. It probably would have been good after a nice steak, but I'm not going to drop $50 on a meal where the staff was so rigid. I know it is harsh, but I was the only customer there and felt like they didn't really want my business.

This is up in Fukushima City.

By the way, this is Kawatori, a gyoza place that I put in my top 3 ever. Incredible food, hilarious master.

No ramen, but you should eat good food wherever you go in life.

Website here.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

めん 和正 (Washo in Sangenjaya)

めん 和正

Tonkotsu gyokai ramen is one of the country's more intense tastes. It is rough, smoky, and full of umami impact.

Like most places that serve this style, Washo has both tsukemen and ramen. The ramen came recommended.

It's a very good bowl. The master has a history of working for Eifukucho Taishoken for eight years, so expect a well executed, larger-than-average bowl of ramen. The comfort level is high on this one.

Monday, October 15, 2018

175°DENO担担麺TOKYO in Shinjuku


From Hokkaido to Shinjuku, it's  . . . spicy tantanmen?

Apparently, the founder, Mr. Deno (出野) wanted to create a hybrid of Chengdu Sichuan and Japanese ramen.

Homemade spice mix using peppercorns sourced directly from farmers in China, cashew nuts in place of the standard peanuts, and an eight hour chicken soup are all highlights. The 175 degrees refers to the temperature the spice oil is made at.

Soup (スープあり) or soupless (スープなし) are both available.

A recent trend in the ramen world is Chengdu Sichuan spice. This shop has been a big one in this genre, opening eight shops already.

As it is a Japanese fusion style, don't expect the levels of heat you would normally find with a more traditional tantanmen.

Website here.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

らあめん満家 (Mitsuruya in Okubo)


Here's one that you, the foreigner visiting this page, may not be so into. But for your local Japanese guy or gal, it might be their new favorite.

I'm not talking about the regular, shoyu ramen. Mitsuruya's shoyu ramen is classic.

What I'm referring to is the frothy mixture behind the counter.

What looks like scrambled eggs is actually natto, the slimy, viscous result of fermented soy beans. It's a staple of Japanese cuisine, and completely strange to those who have never had it.

Like I said, the standard shoyu is classic.

And here is the natto version.

It's a tsukemen, so dip the noodles into the slimy, slightly stinky, very frothy soup. Some people (myself included) think that natto has a texture like snail slime. Some people can't stand the taste, which is a little like dirty socks. Other people just love every aspect of it.

It is very healthy stuff. Enjoy.

Monday, October 8, 2018

MONKEY KING at SoDoSoPa, Dallas, USA


There's a certain quality vibe and energy that is SoDoSoPa. From the independent merchants and unique cafes to the rustic charm of a mixed income crowd.

Where else can you let loose your wild side while still being a part of helping the local economy.

And now, a chance to own a piece of this exciting area of Dallas.

After a night out of eating and shopping, take a few steps and you're home.

It's oh so SoDoSoPa.

And for those very privileged few, the most private and exclusive ownership opportunity is here. Announcing the residencies at the lofts at SoDoSoPa.

These finely appointed residences all feature state-of-the-art finishes and balconies with views of historic Kenny's house.

A place to laugh, a place to gather, a place to mingle with people of all economic classes. And now, it's a place to live.

SoDoSoPa. Welcome home.

Website here.

No, I didn't like this ramen. Goodbye, Dallas.