らすた Rasuta

After having ramen twice in as many days, I decided to make it three in three. But instead of venturing into Tokyo, I stayed a little closer to home and checked out Rasuta (as in rastafarian) near Hiyoshi Station. This shop looks old and has very basic decor. Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” played on a loop the entire time I was there.

01 Shop

I ordered a bowl of Rasuta men from the machine but declined the free rice service. Rice with noodles is crazy unless you’re on a high-carb diet. It was served covered in seven pieces of nori.

02 Ramen

Under all that nori was half an egg, green onions, steamed spinach, and three pieces of pork.

03 Ramen

My first thought was that it looked and tasted like iekei ramen, but there was no sign advertising that style. I wasn’t asked if I wanted to change the flavour of the soup, but the other customers were. It was a bit salty and oily, but not as heavy as you’d expect from other iekei imitators.

04 Soup

The noodles were thick and chewy, and there was a good portion of them.

05 Noodles

It’s not often you get three thick pieces of pork. This pork was a little dry but had a really nice texture. I really liked it.

06 Pork

I would’t go out of my way to visit this shop, but if you’re in the area it’s certainly worth checking out.

07 Counter

Score: 7.5/10

Location: Less than 5 minutes on foot from Hiyoshi Station.

Address: 神奈川県横浜市港北区日吉本町1-5-41 (Kanagawa, Yokohama, Kohoku, Hiyoshi-honcho 1-5-41)

Price: ¥870 (Rasuta men); ¥620 (ramen)

Seating: 19 counter seats

Advertisements

ラーメン吉村屋 Yoshimura-ya

This is where Yokohama’s famous iekei (家系, literally “house-type”) ramen originated. I’d been to many of the imitators that use the iekei label, but this was my first visit to Yoshimura-ya. Apparently anyone wishing to use the iekei label has to first train under Yoshimura-san before starting their own business. Then they are free to adapt the recipe as the like. I arrived on a rainy Tuesday in February just past noon. There was a long queue outside, but fortunately there are almost as many seats outside as there are inside, so that made the wait a little more comfortable.

09 Outside

I was instructed to buy a ticket, which was just a plastic tag, at the machine before joining the queue. Luckily, after five minutes a big group of workers left together, so everyone who was waiting got in easily. Inside it was very working class. There were a few office workers, but the clientele were mostly factory workers. The staff dress in white from head to toe — t-shirt, pants, rubber boots, and towel rolled and tied around the head.

01 Counter view

My order was simple — ramen. As at other iekei shops, you can adjust the firmness of the noodles, richness of flavour and amount of oil. As always, I ordered firm (かため) noodles and left the rest as is. It came topped with three pieces of nori seaweed, some spinach and two chunks of pork.

02 Ramen

Similar to other iekei shops, the noodles were only slightly firm. If there were an extra firm (ばりかた) option, I would’ve taken it. Still, they were nice thick yellow noodles.

04 Noodles

The pork had a really nice smoky flavour. It was just a little chewy, but lean.

04 Pork

Now for the soup. Iekei is known for its shoyu tonkotsu (soy sauce and pork bone) broth, and it was fantastic. It had such a nice brown colour and was full of flavour. The pork really dominated the flavour. It was excellent. This is why people come to Yoshimura-ya.

03 Soup

I think this was the best iekei ramen I’ve had. It wasn’t nearly as heavy or salty as some of the others, and the soup was outstanding. A few years ago, I visited Sugita-ya, which I believe is affiliated with Yoshimura-ya. I’ll try to get down there soon so that I can compare the two.

05 Counter

Score: 9/10

Location: About a 10-minute walk from the west exit of Yokohama Station.

Address: 神奈川県横浜市西区南幸2-12-6 (Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Nishi-ku, Minamisaiwai 2-12-6)

Price: ¥660 (¥760 with extra noodles)

Seating: 26 counter seats and 4 table seats.

武虎家 Taketoraya

I’d been to Taketoraya a number of times before reviewing it. But I’d only been there late at night after having too much to drink and catching the last train home from Tokyo. I finally decided to visit during the day and do a proper review. I went on a Monday in mid-December. Taketoraya is a small shop that serves Yokohama iekei ramen.

05 Shop

I ordered a regular-sized bowl of ramen and opted against the free rice service which is made available at lunchtime. My ramen came topped with spinach, nori, green onion, and one thick slice of smoky pork.

01 Ramen

The soup has a nice brown colour. I ordered it with less oil. It’s pretty good, but salty and quite heavy. You definitely feel like you need to drink about two litres of water after eating this ramen. I usually finish all of the soup whenever I have ramen, but I couldn’t finish this soup. I was just too full.

03 Soup

At Yokohama iekei shops, you can order your noodles soft, regular or firm. I always order firm. The noodles were the typical thick Yokohama-style, but they weren’t as firm as I would have liked.

04 Noodles

This isn’t a bad shop. I prefer Tsunashima Shoten for iekei ramen though. I just find the soup is too salty and heavy. I might go back here again, but probably only late at night after a few drinks since it’s the only place in this area that stays open past midnight.

Score: 6/10

Location: About 2 minutes from Tsunashima Station

Address: 神奈川県横浜市港北区綱島東1丁目6−24

Price: ¥650 for nami; free rice at lunchtime

Seating: Counter only – 9 seats

横浜家系綱島商店 Tsunashima Shoten

Tsunashima Shoten is located just outside the east exit of Tsuanashima Station. I’ve been there a number of times, but this was my first visit in nearly a year. Tsunashima Shoten serves Yokohama Iekei (literally “home-style”) ramen, which has a shoyu-tonkotsu (醤油豚骨) base. This place is usually busy, and there are often people queued up outside in the evening. We went on a Monday afternoon just before 2:00 and didn’t have to wait for a table.

image[4]

The shop is very bright and colourful, both inside and outside, and the staff are very friendly. They energetically welcome customers to the shop and thank those who are leaving, all while shouting orders to the chefs. In fact, their T-shirts say 煩くてすみません (“We apologize for being so noisy.”). I don’t mind the noise as it adds to the atmosphere.

image

All iekei ramen shops offer to adapt the firmness of noodles, richness of soup and oil content to suit the taste of each customer. I requested firm noodles (かため), but left the soup as it was. Like most iekei ramen, the soup here is rich, salty and a bit oily. It tastes fantastic at first, but it sometimes gets a bit heavy towards the end. It was topped with spinach, three pieces of nori seaweed, a quail egg, some chopped leek and a soft, thick piece of chashu.

image[1]

Iekei noodles are thick and a bit wavy. As I mentioned above, I requested firm noodles. I’m not a bit fan of soft noodles, so I always request them firm. They were just right.

image[2]

I prefer the original Yokohama iekei shop, Yoshimura-ya. But Tsunashima Shoten is a good local option. The soup is a bit salty, but it’s full of flavour, and has excellent chashu and delicious noodles.

Score: 7.5/10

Location: Just outside Tsunashima Station’s East Exit

Address: 神奈川県横浜市港北区綱島西1-1-29

Price: From 650 yen

Seating: 10 counter seats and 3 tables (8 seats)