真武咲弥 Shinbusakiya

It’s been a couple of months since I last went to a ramen shop. I was in Shibuya today and, although the temperature was a muggy 28C, I decided to find a good place for a hot bowl of noodles. There are so many shops to choose from in Shibuya. I had a couple of gyokai ramen places on my wish list, but both were full and neither had space for a baby car (I was with my wife and daughter). So we ended up at Shinbusakiya, a miso ramen joint in Dogenzaka. We arrived at 12:45pm and the place was nearly empty, but it filled up within about 10 minutes of our arrival.
01 Shop
The shop has a nice atmosphere. The building is old, but it’s been fixed up nicely. It is a chain with eight locations, two of which operate under a different name and specialize in tsukemen.
03 Inside
I ordered aburi miso ramen (broiled miso ramen). They also had spicy and special miso ramen, but since this was my first visit here, I got the most basic option. Toppings included green onions, bean sprouts, minced pork, one slice of chashu, a half teaspoon of grated ginger, and even a few slices of white onion. It also had two thick pieces of delicious menma. There were so many toppings on this ramen.

04 Ramen

06 Ramen

The soup was very nice. It was a bit oily and very hot. It had a medium thickness with a very smoky flavour and some traces of pepper.
07 Soup
The noodles were typical Sapporo style – thick and wavy. While I do prefer the thin, straight Hakata style noodles, miso ramen just wouldn’t be the same without the thick and wavy variety. Look at how the soup just clings to these noodles. They were very nice.
09 Noodles
I just love thick pieces of menma (fermented bamboo shoots).
08 Menma
Miso ramen is the perfect winter food, and I would like to come here again on a chilly day in January. Even though today was a hot day, this ramen really hit the spot.
05 Ramen
Score: 8/10
Location: Doganzaka, about a five-minute walk from Shibuya Station (Hachiko Exit).
Seating: First floor – ten counter, four table seats; Second floor – four counter, ten table seats.
Price: ¥820 (Aburi miso ramen)
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龍上海 Ryushanhai

Ryushanhai is a Yamagata-based chain of ramen shops, with six locations in Yamagata and one in Yokohama at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum. I made the short trip to the Ramen Museum for the first time in about four years and visited Ryushanhai and one other shop, Najima-tei.

03 Shop Front

Ryushanhai specialises in spicy miso ramen. At the ramen museum, you have the option of ordering a regular sized bowl for ¥850 or a mini version for ¥550. I wanted to try at least one other shop before leaving, so I ordered the mini version.

04 Ramen

Toppings included menma, green onions, kamaboko (a kind of steamed fish cake common in miso ramen), pork, and that distinctive scoop of spicy red miso.

05 Soup

The soup has a pale colour before you mix in the miso, and it has a fairly mild flavour. But after mixing the miso, it becomes quite spicy. Garlic is also a strong presence in the taste.

06 Noodles

The thick, wavy noodles were very tasty but a little soft.

07 Pork

I ordered a mini and it came with just one slice of pork. I’m not sure if the regular comes with two, but I would imagine it does. It was fairly fatty pork but very soft and juicy.

02 Museum

This was my first trip to the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum in a very long time. I love the ramen there, but I feel like such a tourist when I go (despite the fact that I live only a few kilometres away). I had a good time there. There was entertainment, beer, and, most importantly, lots of ramen to choose from, all in a mid-Showa Period setting! The mini-sized bowl is perfect if you want to try a couple of different shops while you’re at the museum. I do recommend Ryushanhai, but there are so many good options there, it’s hard to choose one.

Score: 8/10

Location: On the bottom level of the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, right at the bottom of the stairs.

Address: 神奈川県横浜市港北区新横浜2-14-21 新横浜ラーメン博物館B2F (Yokohama-shi, Kohoku-ku, Shin-Yokohama2-14-21)

Price: Regular – ¥850; Mini – ¥550

Seating: 22 seats, eight of which are counter seats

 

風々風 Fu Fu Fu

There are a number of ramen shops near my old apartment (I recently moved), but I always go to the same three shops. So one day last Golden Week, I decided to try a different shop called Fu Fu Fu. It is located on a busy road not far from the shopping mall Tressa Yokohama. It was a warm day and the shop doors were open. There was a bit of noise from the traffic, but the shop was filled with fresh air and natural light.

01 Shop

The shop mascot is Santa holding and blowing a bowl of ramen. His picture was everywhere inside the shop.

02 Counter

I ordered a bowl of miso tonkotsu ramen. I requested firm noodles, but left everything else as is. I couldn’t believe the size of the order – it was huge. It was topped with black sesame, a piece of nori, thin carrot strips, steamed spinach, and a pile of bean sprouts. It also had two pieces of pork.

03 Miso Tonkotsu Ramen

I actually found the soup quite oily. It was very hot due to the high oil content, so it took a while to eat. But it was really well-balanced and tasted nice after it cooled a bit. If I ever go back, I’d order abura sukuname (light oil content). You can really see the oil (and black sesame) in the photo below.

04 Soup

As always, I ordered firm noodles. They were thick, chewy Yokohama-style noodles with just the right firmness.

05 Noodles

The two pieces of pork were small but soft, although a bit salty. Pretty standard for Yokohama ramen. You can see a bit of fat on the piece below. It wasn’t tough at all and just melted in my mouth.

06 Pork

I liked this place. It’s a no frills shop, but you get a very filling bowl of ramen. Request “abura sukuname” if you go (unless you really like oily ramen). It’s probably a good winter option.

Score: 7.5/10

Location: About a five-minute walk from Tressa Yokohama; two kilometres from Tsunashima Station.

Address:  神奈川県横浜市港北区駒岡2-5-21 第二タルヤビル1F (Kanagawa, Yokohama, Kohoku, Komaoka 2-5-21)

Price: ¥820

Seating: 14 counter seats

ラーメンさんぱち Ramen Sanpachi

I was in Ochanomizu in early January when I had a sudden craving for a hot bowl of ramen. I had a look on Ramen Database and found Sanpachi. Apparently it’s a chain from Hokkaido. There are quite a few shops in Sapporo, but only ten or so outside of Hokkaido. It was mid-afternoon on a Wednesday when I visited the shop. It was empty when I arrived apart from the middle-aged woman who was running the place. The walls were decorated with autographed pictures of female professional wrestlers, and 70s J-pop played over the speakers. This place had a real Showa Era atmosphere. I liked it.

01 Exterior

This is a chain from Hokkaido, so the specialty is miso ramen. My order came topped with bean sprouts, green onions, kamaboko (a kind of steamed fish cake), menma (fermented bamboo shoots), minced pork, and one soft slice of pork loin. This was listed as the most popular (ninki number one) on the ticket machine.

03 Miso Ramen

The soup was a little thinner than your typical miso broth. It had a fair bit of oil which kept it hot. It really warmed me up on a cool winter day.

04 Soup

It came with a decent portion of wavy, slightly soft, Sapporo-style noodles. Nothing special about them, but they were satisfying.

05 Noodles

Sanpachi is worth checking out for the nostalgic 70s atmosphere of the shop. I really wish I had taken a few photos of the interior, but a couple of salarymen arrived just after me which made it hard to discretely photograph the place.

Score: 7.5/10

Location: About 10 minutes on foot from Ochanomizu Station

Address: 東京都文京区湯島1丁目11-13

Price: ¥750

Seating: Counter only — maybe 12 seats

ちょもらん麺 Chomoranmen

Chomoranmen was the second ramen shop I visited during my four days in Nagoya. That means I ate ramen twice in four days in August. But it was a cool (for August) and very rainy day, so ramen was a good choice.

01 Exterior

This place is opposite Nagoya TV Tower, just outside of exit 8B of Sakaemachi Station, but I walked there from my hotel.

02 Counter left    03 Counter right

I was greeted by a young, friendly Nepalese staff who recommended the shop specialty, miso ramen. I sat at the counter, behind which a large TV showed a variety program. There were four bookshelves full of manga in the corner. A few customers came and went while I was there, but it wasn’t busy.

05 Ramen

The service was quick. I received my ramen about a minute after sitting down. It was topped with one slice of pork, some boiled cabbage and a mountain of bean sprouts.

06 Soup

It was a thick, brown and flavourful soup with some spice and a thin layer of oil. It was excellent. The noodles were also very good — thick, firm and chewy. Notice how the soup just clings to them.

07 Noodles

This was a great bowl of ramen. It’s always nice to have a huge portion of bean sprouts and cabbage. And the soup was very filling, which is typical of miso ramen.

Score: 8.5/10

Location: Just outside of Sakaemachi Station, exit 8B

Address: 愛知県i名古屋市中区錦3-15-10

Price: From ¥730 (¥790 for miso ramen)

Seating: 14 counter seats, 8 table seats

麺処かっすい55 Mendokoro Kassui 55

We rode our bicycles out to Lalaport in Kamoi last Sunday and decided to find a ramen shop in that area. We went into Mendokoro Kassui 55 (麺処かっすい55) as it’s a place I’ve always noticed when in Kamoi and I had read some good reviews of it.

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There were only about three people there when we arrived, all seated at the counter. There is a big window in the front of the shop which lets a lot of natural light into the place, but the grey interior still felt a bit dark and drab. We both ordered thick miso ramen (濃厚味噌ラーメン) from the machine and were seated at the table next to the big window.

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The ramen was topped with corn, leek (長ネギ), green onions (ネギ), lettuce, bean sprouts, half a boiled egg, spicy minced pork and cracked black pepper. There was also a somewhat small, but thick, and very soft piece of braised pork (チャーシュー) which just melted as soon as it entered my mouth. The pork is a very important ingredient in ramen, and they got it right here.

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The soup was quite strong and a bit spicy, probably due to the minced pork and black pepper. And, as the name suggested, it was thick.

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In additional to all of the toppings, there was also a generous portion of noodles. They were thick, wavy and firm. And as you can see in the photo below, the thick soup just clings to those noodles.

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There were so many toppings on this ramen, a good portion of noodles, and the soup was a bit heavy. But somehow I managed to finish it all. I guess it was the fact that I had ridden my bicycle for 40 minutes on a near-empty stomach to get there. I’ve had better miso ramen, but this place was pretty good.

Score: 6.5/10

Location: Kamoi Station, on the Lalaport side of the bridge opposite Mini Stop.

Address: 神奈川県横浜市都筑区池辺町4364

Price: 700-850 yen

Seating: About 8 counter seats and 3 tables

Website: http://www.kassuitei.com/kassui55/index.html