誠信 Seishin

This is my second official review of Seishin, my favourite local shop. My first review was for their torikotsu shio ramen. This time I wanted to try the torikotsu shoyu as I hadn’t eaten it for a couple of years. I went on a Sunday for lunch. Despite the shop being only half full, there were about a dozen people waiting outside to get a seat at Tougen next door. They don’t know what they’re missing!

01 Shop

I ordered the torikotsu shoyu ramen, but declined the free extra noodles. It was topped with steamed spinach, a piece of nori, and coarsely shredded onion. The onion gave it a really nice freshness. It also came with one slice each of pork and chicken.

02 Torikotsu Shoyu

The soup is much dark than the torikotsu shio, as you’d expect. It appear quite oily, but doesn’t taste oily at all. It’s got a lot of flavour but isn’t heavy at all. It’s a really well-balanced soup.

04 Soup

As I mentioned earlier, I declined the free omori (extra noodles), which are offered free at lunchtime. The regular portion of noodles, which were thick, wavy and firm, was more than enough.

05 Noodles

They always give you a slice of juicy chicken with torikotsu ramen, but the pork was the highlight of the toppings. They really know how to do the pork at Seishin. It occasionally has some fat, but it’s never tough and usually melts in your mouth.

06 Pork

I really love everything about this shop – the atmosphere, the staff, and, of course, the ramen. I can’t understand why it’s not the first place in the area to fill up, but I don’t mind because it means I can always get in without waiting.

Score: 9/10

Location: About a 12-minute walk from Tsunashima Station, opposite Uniqlo and Round One. Just follow the giant bowling pin.

Address: 神奈川県横浜市港北区樽町2-2-18 (Kanagawa, Yokohama, Kohoku, Tarumachi 2-2-18)

Price: ¥750 – regular; ¥900 – tokusei

Seating: three tables for four, six counter seats

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極楽鳥 Gokurakucho

This was probably the eighth time I’ve been to Gokurakucho, and my second time reviewing it. I normally order the shio ramen, but today I wanted to try the shoyu. It was a cold, wet day in early February. There was a short wait, but it was worth it for a hot bowl of ramen on a winter’s day.

01 Shop

The shio ramen is the most popular here, but I ordered the kotteri shoyu (heavy/rich soy sauce) ramen. It came topped with chopped leeks, shungiku (chrysanthemum greens), an egg, two slices each of pork and chicken. The pro is always a bit hit and miss here. They give you a generous portion, but it’s sometimes a little tough. The chicken is always good — soft, juicy and smoky. And shungiku is really nice with ramen.

02 Torikotsu Shoyu

The soup was nice. The broth is from torikotsu (chicken bone) with a shoyu base. It had a nice brown colour with lots of flavour. There was a fair bit of oil on the surface, but I don’t mind that on a cold day.

03 Soup

In addition to the generous amount of meat it’s topped with, this ramen also comes with a huge portion of noodles. They were thick, firm and chewy — typical Yokohama-style noodles. I was absolutely stuffed by the time I slurped the last one.

04 Noodles

The specialty at Gokurakucho is shio ramen, and I’d have to say I recommend it over the shoyu. The shoyu ramen is really good, but the shio is just so amazing. But it’s nice to try this one just for some variety if you go to Gokurakucho as often as I do.

Score: 8/10

Location: Along the Tsunashima-Kawasaki and Tsunashima-Tsurumi bus routes, about a 20-minute walk from Tsunashima Station.

Address: 神奈川県横浜市港北区樽町3丁目4-12

Price: From 720 yen

Seating: Two tables for four, five counter seats

誠信 Seishin

Seishin is often overlooked because of its proximity to the more popular shop Tougen, but it’s probably my favourite ramen shop in Yokohama. It is conveniently located a 5-minute walk from my apartment, next to the busier Tougen which always has a queue of people waiting. But in my opinion, Seishin is a better option for a nice bowl of ramen. It’s a small but clean and bright shop run by a very friendly young guy.

07 Seishin

Seishin’s speciality is shio-based torikotsu ramen (a broth made from boiling chicken bones). I ordered the tokusei shio ramen (特製塩ラーメン; special salt ramen). It comes topped with chopped onions, boiled spinach, three pieces of nori, half a boiled egg, two pieces of very tender pork loin and two pieces of fatty pork which is so soft it turns to liquid when it hits your tongue.

02 Torikotsu Ramen

The soup has a slightly dark, almost cloudy, colour with some oil on the surface. It’s a little salty but full of flavour.

04 Soup

Free omori (extra noodles) are offered at lunch. I was pretty hungry, so I had the extra noodles. They were firm, square and chewy.

05 Noodles

As I mentioned above, it came with two slices of pork loin (chashu), which was so soft it was almost difficult to pick up as it just seemed to fall apart. But it was so good. (See the picture below.) It also came with two slices of fatty, melt-in-your-mouth pork which just turned to liquid upon entering my mouth. Both types of pork were amazing and I can’t believe they give you two slices of each.

06 Chashu

We also ordered gyoza, which were really good. But with the extra noodles and all that pork, I could only eat one. My wife had the rest.

01 Gyoza

I can’t think of anything bad to say about this ramen. The soup is excellent, the noodles are delicious, and the pork is amazing. It’s beautiful. I have three great ramen shops near my apartment. This one is my favourite ramen shops, not only in my neighbourhood, but probably in all of Yokohama.

Score: 9.5/10

Location: About a 12-minute walk from Tsunashima Station, opposite Uniqlo and Round One. Just follow the giant bowling pin.

Address: 神奈川県横浜市港北区樽町2-2-18

Price: ¥750 – regular; ¥900 – tokusei

Seating: three tables for four, six counter seats

極楽鳥 Gokurakucho

Summer is in full swing here in Japan, and the heat has kept me from eating ramen for a couple of months. But I’ve been craving it recently, so I decided to stop into Gokurakucho. The shop is located in Tarumachi about a 20-minute walk from Tsunashima Station along the Tsunashima-Kawasaki and Tsunashima-Tsurumi bus routes (conveniently only a 2-minute walk from my apartment).
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Gokurakucho, which specializes in chicken-based ramen, opened about a year ago and is run by the former chef of nearby Seishin. He enthusiastically greets and thanks customers as they come and go, and there is always good music — usually Japanese rock playing over the shop’s sound system. I went at 12:15 on a Monday afternoon. I didn’t have to wait for a seat, but it was busy.

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I ordered the kotteri shio ramen (rich salt ramen). I don’t usually order shio ramen, but I wanted to give it a try here. It came topped with two thick slices of chashu (braised pork), two slices of roasted chicken, chopped leeks, shungiku (garland chrysanthemum), and a hard-boiled egg (served separately). Shungiku and leeks are always good in ramen. The portions of chicken and chashu were generous, I thought. The chicken was soft and juicy, and the pork was thick and fairly soft. But there were a few rubbery bits of fat in it that brought down the quality a bit.

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On to the soup. I had been here twice before and had the shio ramen once. I remember it being good, but I think the chef has tweaked his recipe a bit since then as it was absolutely beautiful this time! Only once before have I taken a sip of soup and said out loud to myself “Oh my god, that’s good”, and that was at the shop where the same chef used to work. My reaction to this soup was the same. I’ve never had soup that was so thick and white, and I’ve never had such flavourful shio ramen. Shio ramen is usually yellow and a bit clear, and often a bit too bland for my liking. But this soup had a milky white appearance and so much flavour.

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The noodles were Yokohama-style — thick, wavy and firm. They almost looked like udon. (Some of the photos I took weren’t great; there was a part-time staff standing at a counter next to me and I didn’t want to make it obvious that I was “reviewing” the ramen.)

Overall, Gokurakucho is awesome, and the guy who runs the place is a ramen artist. The soup was a 10 out of 10, and the noodles were excellent. The only negative was the chashu, which had just a bit too much tough fat that I had to eat around. On another day, the chashu would probably be fine. I’ll definitely go back in the near future, most likely when the weather cools down a bit!

Score: 9/10

Location: Along the Tsunashima-Kawasaki and Tsunashima-Tsurumi bus routes, about a 20-minute walk from Tsunashima Station.

Address: 神奈川県横浜市港北区樽町3丁目4-12

Price: From 720 yen

Seating: Two tables for four, five counter seats