名島亭 Najima-tei

For my second bowl of ramen on this visit to the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, I went to Najima-tei for some Hakata ramen. This is a Fukuoka-based shop that serves the local specialty, tonkotsu ramen.

02 Looking In

I had already had one small bowl of spicy red miso ramen at Ryushanhai, so I just ordered a small bowl of tonkotsu here. It was a fairly typical bowl of Hakata ramen, topped with a large portion of green onions, some kikurage (a kind of mushroom), and two pieces of pork.

03 Ramen

The soup was a cloudy white. It had a very strong pork flavour with mild traces of garlic. It was quite oily and very hot. This soup was full of flavour and tasted very good.

04 Soup

The noodles were classic Hakata style – thin and straight. I didn’t know I could adjust the firmness of the noodles. If I had known, I would have definitely asked for firm noodles (かため). Still, they were fine. Hakata noodles are the best in my opinion.

07 Noodles

This mini bowl of ramen came with two thin slices of pork. It was lean and fairly tender.

06 Pork

This was a no-frills bowl of Hakata ramen. The soup was very nice, and the noodles were excellent. You really can’t go wrong with Hakata-style ramen.

01 Sign

Score: 7.5/10

Location: On the bottom level of the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum.

Address: 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-Yokohama 2-14-21)

Price: Regular – ¥750; Mini – ¥570

Seating: 25 seats, both counter and table

 

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

 

ゴル麺 横浜本店 Goru-Men

Goru-Men – a portmanteau of Golden Ramen – is a small chain with five locations in Yokohama, Fujisawa, and Machida. I went to the main shop in Yokohama, about a 10-minute walk from Yokohama Station. It was a wet Sunday afternoon in July. It was busy, but we got in without waiting. It’s a nice, clean shop that feels like it’s part of a bigger chain than it actually is.

01 Shop

I ordered from the machine just inside the entrance and got a ticket with the details of my order –  gorumen with firm noodles, regular oil-content and richness, with a little minced garlic. The style of the soup is shoyu-tonkotsu.

02 Ticket

It came topped with kikurage (wood ear mushroom), which is always nice in ramen, a generous portion of bean sprouts and cabbage, and one piece of pork.

03 Ramen

The soup was nice. It was a little heavy and had a very strong pork flavour. I left the richness at regular. I can’t imagine how strong it would’ve been if I’d ordered “koi” (extra richness). The soup actually reminded me a bit of iekei ramen.

04 Soup

This ramen came with a heaping portion of thick, chewy noodles. They were very good.

05 Noodles

It also had one slice of soft, juicy pork. It was a bit fatty, but was cooked just right.

06 Pork

This was a good bowl of ramen. There’s not a lot to separate it from other shops. Nearby Yoshimura-ya is a better option, but you’ll have to queue up. If you don’t want to wait there, Goru-men isn’t a bad back-up plan.

07 Counter

Score: 7.5/10

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2-18-1 (Kanagawa, Yokohama, Nishi-ku, Minamisaiwai 2-18-1)

Price: ¥830 – Goru-men; ¥750 – Regular ramen

Seating: 11 counter seats; 5 two-seater tables

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

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

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

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.