Thursday, December 5, 2019

12,000 Yen Ramen at Noodle Stand Tokyo

12,000 Yen Ramen at Noodle Stand Tokyo

As ramen becomes more and more mainstream, and as the world of foodie culture becomes ingrained in everything edible, it was only a matter of time before ramen would become "gourmet." Gourmet meaning luxury ingredients that have never been used in a dish. Noodle Stand Tokyo offers one of a handful of new-wave $100 bowls of ramen. A5 wagyu beef, wagyu soup, custom noodles, foie gras, and of course truffle oil. Even the egg is from famous Okukuji, known for one of the best yolks in Japan. Ramen has historically been an inexpensive comfort food, so is this allowed?

First things first, I need to explain how this came about. This isn't an ordinary menu item at Noodle Stand. Due to the need to source special ingredients, it needs to be pre-ordered over at the By Food website:

Most Expensive Ramen in Tokyo

Pay 12,000 yen ($109 USD), choose your date, and get ready for a feast.

This ramen was created for a popular YouTube channel. Luxury sells, proven by the 2+ million views the video has already had.

You better believe it comes with a free drink!

A nice glass from Hakkaisan (八海山).

Sudachi from Tokushima Prefecture adds some nice accents.

So how do you arrive at a $100 bowl of ramen. Even if every ingredient were the best-of-the-best, I don't see a normal bowl topping $30. The answer is quantity.

While a normal bowl of ramen has round 30 grams of meat topping, this one has 300g of premium wagyu beef. On one side is 200g of sirloin steak. On the other is 100g of marbled sukiyaki.

To put some prices into perspective, a 180g wagyu steak at a top hotel grill restaurant is well over $200. The stuff ain't cheap.

As expected, each bite is a blissful beef experience. The soup is also beef-based for more of that unique umami. Creamy and fatty, with a lingering aftertaste. Bliss.

On the side, some foei gras paste and a kind of spicy miso condiment (島原納豆みそとかんずい). More premium stuff.

Yes, the whole thing is covered in gold. Did you expect anything else?

The Okukuji (奥久慈) egg is considered one of the best in Japan. It's from a small farm that feeds the chickens a natural diet meant to promote a kind of "super yolk."

So, the elephant in the room. The question people ask me. Is it worth it?

As far as being a good bowl, that is undeniable. Nishiyama-san, the chef at Noodle Stand, has created something incredible. The subtle flavors that I personally find to be important in ramen are all there. I enjoyed it without a doubt. But, yes, I realize this one is like a boy band, manufactured for rabid fans who spend much of their time on social media. You'll get some likes, your friends will be jealous, and you'll have eaten a smashing bowl of ramen. It'll just cost you.

Here is the YouTube video in question, made by The Best Ever Food Review Show:

FYI, I went to the previous shop that Nishiyama-san worked at a few years ago. Here's a video:

Ramen Walker TV went to Noodle Stand Tokyo as well:

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Best Ramen in Japan - 2019

It's time for my annual best-of list, where I look back over the year at my favorite bowls. Thirteen shops made the non-Tokyo lists this time. My non-ramen job takes me far and wide around Japan and gives me the opportunity to really try some excellent shops.

Head over to

Best of Ramen

for the details and maps. For reference, here are the shops.

中華蕎麦うゑず (Uwezu in Yamanashi Prefecture)

生姜ラーメン みづの (Mizuno in Asahikawa, Hokkaido)

海老麺総本家 地元家 (Jimotoya in Hakodate, Hokkaido)

大阪麺哲 (Mentetsu in Osaka)

人類みな麺類 (Jinrui in Osaka)

製麺処 蔵木 (Kuraki in Kochi, Kochi Prefecture)

橋本食堂 (Hashimoto in Susaki, Kochi Prefecture)

ラーメンエアーストリーム (Ramen Airstream in Toyama)

麺屋鶏冠 (Tosaka in Oita Prefecture)

Sakanoue Unique in Kagoshima

ハンディクラフトワークス (Handicraft Works in Yashio, Saitama)

らぁ麺 とうひち (Touhichi in Kyoto)

天理スタミナラーメン (Tenri Stamina Ramen in Nara)

猪骨ラーメン (Shishikotsu Wild Boar Ramen in Ehime)

欽山 (Kinzan in Takamatsu, Kagawa)

Le Sel Organic Ramen in Kyoto

さんわ (Sanwa in Ehime)

自家製麺うろた (Urota Homamade Noodles in Fukushima)

つけ麺 繁田 (Shigeta in Kobe, Hyogo)

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Best Ramen in Tokyo - 2019

It's time for my annual best-of list, where I look back over the year at my favorite bowls. These 14 shops are all in Tokyo, and all are highly recommended. Head over to my dedicated best-of site

Best of Ramen

for the details and maps. As always, this isn't a best-of list in the traditional sense, just a look back over the previous year and the bowls that made it special for me.

For reference, here are the shops.

Clam Bonito RAIK in Honancho

The second shop from the RAIK group goes all seafood, using different fish bones and shells each day.

金色不如帰 (Hototogisu in Shinjuku)

Hototogisu is back with a Michelin star and a new location in Shinjuku.

金竜 (Kinryu in Matsudo)

Inconvenient, but this is one of Tokyo's most famous miso ramen shops.

中華蕎麦 にし乃 (Nishino in Hongo)

A pure bowl kissed with sansho oil.

龍朋 (Ryuho in Kagurazaka)

Classic hiyashi, a cold noodle dish best enjoyed in the sweltering summer months.

MENSHO San Francisco (in Shinujuku)

See what the west is loving these days at this shop inspired by the San Francisco outpost of Mensho. A5 wagyu ramen and creamy tori paitan.

らぁ麺 鳳仙花 (Hosenka in Shinjuku)

Ramen highlighted by kinmedai, one of Japan's luxury fishes.

おとど餃子食堂 (Otodo Gyoza Shokudo in Yawata, Tokyo)

The ramen here is an afterthought, as it is the gyoza that shines.

海老丸らーめん (Ebimaru Ramen in Jimbocho)

Lobster bisque ramen. Overkill for some, pure pleasure for others.

丿貫 (Hechikan in Yokohama)

Niboshi, shellfish, and plenty of little quail eggs.

ののくら (Nonokura in Kameari, Tokyo)

You like these ultra-refined ramen bowls that have been all the rage lately? This one is up there at the top.

せんだが家 (Sendaga-ya Mazesoba in Shinjuku, Tokyo)

Tasty mix-em-up noodles just steps from the 2020 Olympic stadium.

銀座八五 (Ginza Hachigo in Ginza, Tokyo)

This is many ramen hunter's rookie of the year shop. They keep the cost down to 850 yen by using only salt as a seasoning. Elegant and refined.

麺GARAGE 肉ヲ見ル (Men Garage Niku wo Miru in Sangenjaya, Tokyo)

Rich tonkotsu gyokai topped with up to six different kinds of churrasco meats. It's kind of an overkill, in the best way possible.

Monday, November 25, 2019

つけ麺 繁田 (Shigeta in Kobe, Hyogo)

つけ麺 繁田

I never know where to eat in Kobe, so I just brought up the local rankings. Shigeta was at the top spot when I went. The shop has been open since December of 2015. 

As expected, there is a bit of a line.

Tsukemen, tsukemen with an egg, tsukemen with extra pork. The shop's master, Shigeta-san, considers the noodles to be the main dish, and the soup is just something extra to complement them. Tsukemen is the perfect dish to accentuate noodles.

Beautiful, beautiful pork. The chashu on this one is exquisite. Both the sous vide chicken and tender pork. Excellent. Again, just something to highlight the noodles.

Homemade noodles are thick and wheaty. Be warned that the soup is intense. Pork with massive amounts of dried fish flavors. A tiny sliver of yuzu citrus peel gives some respite from the overbearing nature of this bowl.

The shop also offers a mazesoba that looked particularly tasty. The master's future goals are to open a ramen shop and a mazesoba-only shop, so keep this one in your sights.

Official Facebook here.