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Aug 23, 2006 12:42 AM

Ramen Round-up by Swinnerton of the JT

I think this is the first time I can recall Robbie Swinnerton, Japan Times food file guy, talking about ramen and ramen only. He had a round-up last week-

Tokyo tourists should take note, as several places are not far from Roppongi Hills. I've visited Kaotan Ramen, the first one on the list, many times. A little surprised he reviewed it because it's so well known, but it's good. If you are traveling to Tokyo and enjoy clubbing or are in the general area, this is a great place to check out. The picture doesn't do it justice. It's even more ramshackle inside!.....I'm intrigued by the place called Hashigo, a chain I've heard about. I'm less impressed by the story about yatai or street stall places. They're cheap and the "master" always has a lot of pride, but I'm of the opinion that the craft has passed most of these guys by. But that's just my opinion.

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  1. Is Roppongi Hills a tourist destination? It shouldn't be.

    Good article from Robbie, but I believe 'paiko' signifies fried pork, not chicken.
    I believe he chose ramen shops in this location because a lot of Westerners ply that neighborhood. There is great ramen in other parts of Tokyo as well -- Takadanobaba and Ueno come immediately to mind.

    I agree with Silverjay about yatai -- a highly overrated genre, particularly when it comes to ramen.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Tripeler

      In retrospect, I probably though, should confine my yatai ramen comments to Tokyo. I've heard very good things about Fukuoka yatai. I remember seeing some ramen programs that featured top ramen places for that city and several of them were yatai....I confess also, that some yatai do oden pretty well. There's a row of shacks outside Yokohama station, west exit, that comes to mind....RH, for better or for worse, is a tourist destination.

      1. re: Silverjay

        Yeah - I don't know about tourists, but US businessmen (myself included) are "forced" to stay in Ropongi - the "foreigners quarter" - in my case by my associates who want easier coordination of cars, etc... Nothing like paying Y10,000 for breakfast "rissoto". But I did manage to spot an akachochin across the street from the Hilton - a small izakaya that wasn't exactly a ramen place, but still cheaper sake and better noshing than the rip-off hotel.

        1. re: applehome

          You can't really complain about staying in Roppongi- particularly RH. It's a very good central location, especially since the completion of the Oedo Line and the rise of both Nishi-Azabu and Azabu-juban as excellent dining areas. There's a few decent ramen places in the immediate Roppongi area as well. Pretty much all of Minato-ku is a "foreigners quarter", which may not be interesting for tourists, but it's good for the Tokyo food scene- though I never eat in Roppongi if I can help it, except for a bowl of noodles. Still, I wouldn't mind staying in RH if someone else footed the bill...