Monday, September 16, 2019

らぁ麺 とうひち (Touhichi in Kyoto)

らぁ麺 とうひち

I had a feeling I would love this one. Touhichi is on Kyoto's upper west side, and you'll need to drive or take the bus. Not a problem.

Thumbs up for a bus in Japan that has actual leg room for me!

Homemade, organic noodles.

The tsukemen looked incredible. Noodles served in konbusui, viscous kelp water that is pure umami. Not everyone is a fan, as it is as viscous as 10W40 engine oil, but the stuff is good.

Though I love this dish, first-time customers are pushed towards the 鶏醤油らぁ麺, chicken shoyu ramen.

To call this one premium is an understatement. What's above premium?

Local tanba kurodori from Kyoto. Kurosatsumadori from Kagoshima. Hinaidori from Akita. These are all famous brands of chicken in Japan. 京都の京都丹波黒どりと鹿児島の黒さつま鶏と秋田の比内地鶏。

The soy sauce tare is made with a blend of 10 different soy sauces.

Touhichi is one of a few shops in Japan that do this ultra-refined chicken style. Rock'n'Billy S1 is another. For many ramen rookies, this bowl is a game-changer, converting pork loving tonkotsu fans into a lighter breed of rameniacs.

Everything is perfect, apart from the slightly inconvenient location.

This part of town isn't visited often by tourists. Another absolute gem in the area is Rakushan (洛叉庵), probably the best warabimochi in Japan. You will need to call ahead and reserve. There is also one of the most incredible temples in the area. Send me a DM on Instagram if you want to know about it, I've been sworn to secrecy.

Official Twitter here.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

流星軒 (Ryuseitai in Kannai, Kanagawa)


Classic shoyu ramen.

In another shop dedicated to Eikichi Yazawa (矢沢 永吉). If you don't know who he is (I didn't), the internet says he is quite famous, selling out stadium tours around Japan and playing benefits with Robert Palmer, Bon Jovi, and Rod Stewart. He also has a number of ramen shops opened by his hard core fans.

Other Yazawa tribute ramen shops? Takesue comes to mind. I've heard there are many more up in Gunma and Tochigi.

This shop is on the way to Trick, a shop I had an appointment at. Why not have a pre-ramen bowl of ramen!

Classic shoyu. I love these simple bowls, as most people can crush one with ease. The entire time, from sitting down, to ordering, to eating, to paying took about three songs.

Official twitter here.

Monday, September 9, 2019

雲林坊 (Yunrin in Kudanshita, Tokyo)

雲林坊 九段店

Hot and numbing tantanmen was declared the ramen trend of 2019, with shops like Yunrin taking the lead.

Choose your levels of heat and choose your levels of numb.

As these bowls are on the sloppy side, a paper apron is a wise choice for those wearing anything lighter than black.

This one was standard. It's a bit nutty from the sesame and peanuts, a bit smoky from the mara spices, and a bit chewy from the noodles. Be careful not to get more spice than you can handle.

Mix the rice bowl into the leftover sauce to get every last bit.

Official site here.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

牛王 (Gou Beef Ramen in Kawasaki, Kanagawa)

牛骨らーめん 牛王

Where's the beef?

Out near Musashi-Shinjo Station apparently.

I was in the area to visit a California style burrito spot I heard about and left enough room to crush a quick bowl. FYI, Cactus Burrito is the bomb.

Back to the beef.

Beef bone soup topped with thin slices of roast beef. A little tomato adds to the umami.

This soup is 100% beef and a mix of ten vegetables. Refreshing stuff.

The raw egg on the side works as a dip for the sliced beef. Much like sukiyaki or certain kinds of yakitori, in Japan people love dipping meats into a raw egg. You should too.

Official site here.

Monday, September 2, 2019

用心棒 (Yojinbo in Hongo, Tokyo)

用心棒 本号

Oh, Jiro-kei, our on-again off-again love affair continues.

Jiro-style, known as Jiro-kei or Jiro-inspire is defined by thick, wheaty noodles in a pure pork soup, topped with bean sprouts, raw garlic, and as much seabura pork back fat as you can handle. It tends to be too heavy for me, so I only eat the stuff a few times a year. Some people, known lovingly as Jirorians, eat the stuff a few times a week.

Enter Jiro-style mazesoba. Soupless ramen with all those tasty toppings. This is something I can eat without the aftereffects of drinking the fattiest soup on Earth. Sure, your breath is destroyed for the next 12 hours, but maybe your stomach is not.

Raw garlic, raw ginger, spicy bits of tempura batter, fatty pork, and both a raw egg and cooked egg. Junk food extraordinaire. All these toppings are free, and you can ask for it mashi if you want extra. Garlic mayonnaise, also free, is optional.

Mix it up and enjoy your life. Please listen to me. Don't get a large size if you don't know what you are in for. Even the smallest serving of noodles here is much more than a normal bowl of ramen.

You've been warned.