Sunday, November 29, 2020

じもん (Jimon in Koenji, Tokyo)


A friend was in town from Italy, and we were on the hunt for ramen. Giancarlo, who runs Verde Ramen in Brescia, has a soft spot for spicy tantanmen. Have you ever tried Katsuura-style tantanmen? This obscure style from the southern tip of Chiba's Boso Peninsula is about as un-tantanmen as tantanmen can be. Essentially shoyu ramen with a ton of chili oil and a mountain of rough-cut onion. Katsuura is about a two-hour drive from my home. Jimon in Koenji is about a 15-minute walk.

The signboard outside will let you know. Jimon only serves one style bowl.

Funky shop. My buddy is a large fellow, and he barely fit inside this cramped, steamy shop. Only one button to choose from (though there is also a mazesoba available . . . no one in the shop was eating it). You can also order a high-alcohol can of lemon chuhi for 300 yen. Boozy lemon soda with spicy ramen? You do you.

The spice blend is made from four different kinds of togarashi red peppers, including the sweet leaves of the pepper, known as hatogarashi (葉トウガラシ). These leaves are often used in kimchi dishes to balance out the heat.

Please choose your spice level. And please read the warnings about said spice levels at your own risk. For those studying English or Japanese as a second language, the translations do not match up.

If you do like this style, I recommend spending a day down in Chiba, seeing the sights, and going to somewhere like Ezawa for a bowl of the stuff.

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