Ramen in Tokyo
I'll be in Japan for about a week (Tokyo) and would like to know what ramen places are on the short list.
Here in LA there's quite a few discussions on ramen. Some Chows who have been to Japan say there is no comparison.
I really like to try some of the top places so I have a basis to judge how LA ramen stacks up against the very best Japanese.
I saw these places on Youtube. Do you think any of the following would be a good suggestion.
If someone can translate the names as well and what general part of the city I would be appreciate it.
Hey, I know this helps the original poster in no way since it was posted a year ago, but hopefully if they ever make it back or anyone else looking for suggestions for decent bowl of ramen (ラーメン or らーめん) can benefit from these...
As others have pointed out Ichiran (一蘭) makes a some great ramen.
I also love Jangara Ramen (ジャンガラ) (they have an English menu as well) located in Harajuku and Akihabara. I'm sure a quick google search will give all details of locations.
I also like Ippudo (一風堂). A chain but consistent great ramen. They tend to have a lunch set that gets you a bow of your choice of ramen and for an additional couple hundred yen, some gyoza and rice (you can fill up on the rice as well if you are hungry since it is all you can eat). Ippudo is probably where I go most since it is located near my work. Expect lines almost anytime you go.
There are quite a few locations, so again Google will set you straight on where to go. English OK too from my experiences.
Another ramen chain is Kagetsu (花月). They are all over the place so probably one of the bigger chains, but they tend to have a variety of different ramen on rotation at times from some of the master ramen chefs. No English menus from my experience but I'm sure some employee (or English speaking customer) will be glad to help you out. I go to the store in my hood after a night of drinking and always a great way to top off a night.
Also a somewhat "recent" popular variation of ramen is the "Tsuke ramen" which is "dipping ramen". I've been eating at random places and haven't found any real "bad" places yet. But just stick to the places where they only seem to specialize and serve the dipping variety since it seems almost everyone is jumping on the "dipping" bandwagon and my only 2 mediocre experiences were at ramen "soup" places dabbling with the dipping variety. However Kagetsu makes a great dipping ramen, for the record. Hope this helps and sorry for the drawn out posting.
It's true. The Ramen in LA pales in comparison to even the mediocre places in Tokyo. In my opinion, Santouka in the food court at Mitsuwa is the only place in LA that comes close.
If you have never had ramen in Tokyo, I highly recommend going to Ichiran. It is a chain, and it is pretty easy to find. There are better ramen places, but Ichiran is a great introduction to ramen. Before I came to Tokyo I would go to Santouka and Asahi for what I thought was good ramen (being from LA), but Ichiran blew me away the first time I had it. Part of the reason I was so impressed is probably because it is Tonkotsu ramen, which I had never tried before I came to Tokyo as you cant get it in LA (as far as I know). Its a beautiful thing. Ippudo is another chain that I would recommend trying, I dont think it is as good as Ichiran, but a lot of my freinds think it is just as good or better.
If you go to any of the well-known, highly rated ramen places they will pretty much all be good. And there are a lot. Out of the places I have been to its hard to say which is the best, its an apples and oranges situation. Its also based on personal taste and what you are in the mood for that day.
I also think the Ramen Museum in Shin-Yokohama is also a great place to taste different types of ramen. Go and get a couple mini-bowls from several different shops. I think there are like 10 places in the museum that are all pretty good.
I recently went to Kururi ramen, and thought it was amazing.
The miso ramen was mind blowing. Besides the fact that I was so full that I wanted to throw up everywhere afterwords, it was great. The shop has no sign outside, but we recognized it by the line outside the shop and the black panel above the door with nothing written on it.
I's suggest to check out the ramen database (http://ramendb.supleks.jp/rank). They have ranked thousands of ramen shop and 9 out of the top 10 places are in tokyo.
I recently went to #6 which is very conveniently located in west shinjuku. they serve an interesting fishy version of pork soup. not your standard fair, but really interesting. It is called Fu-Unji and there always is a long line infront.
Personally i absolutely love Ichi-Ran. They're not ranked (i guess they are considered too fast-food-ish by serious ramen lovers?) but I absolutely adore their fresh noodles and red spicy sauce. (http://www.ichiran.co.jp/pc/hp/englis...).
When ordering at Ichi-Ran you need to first buy a ramen ticket, then you wait until seated in one of the little boxes. They will give you a complicated looking form where you specify all sorts of things (richness of the soup, amount of garlic, spice, how you want the noodles to be cooked etc etc). I'd suggest to just circle the middle option on every row. Unless you can read japanese chances are high that you will order a greasy 3x garlic extra vinegar soup with almost-not-cooked noodles. that may spoil the fun. =)
Ichiran is in fact actually ranked on Supleks, if that's what you were referring to, here's the Shibuya branch:
The tonkotsu gyoukai broth served at Fuunji is actually quite common for tsukemen places now and has been for 1-2 years. At 7 or 8 of the places in the top 10 list you refer to, tonkotsu gyoukai is the "signature" broth or the only broth they serve.
For anyone else who wants to explore Supleks but is put off by the fact that it is in Japanese, here's an explanation in English on how to use it:
Here's the Ichiran English home page link again:
Try searching like this:
I get tons and tons of ramen links. I really like #1 - it was my local shop for awhile before I moved. It's really quite nice.
Here's another blog with good stuff:
You could also 'hop' on over to the Ramen Museum in Yokohama, if you're serious. Nine famous ramens shops all in one location. Mini-portions offered if you want to try many different shops on one visit, though even then you do have to pace yourself....
You may want to go to Ivan Ramen:
And I spoke with Ivan recently and he recommended this website, by a guy who is working at his shop:
My personal favorite is the chilled sesame noodles at Sapporoya, "hiyashi chuka gomadare" near Tokyo station listed here:
If you go to Ivan Ramen tell him Yukari sent you!
#1 Kururi, in Ichigaya
#2 Honmarutei, Kanagawa Prefecture (not Tokyo)
#3 Kiraboshi, Musashino City (outskirts of Tokyo)
I don't know if these are "top places" - they were the top 3 on some TV show, but there are several different TV shows about ramen every week. There have been many discussions of ramen on this board, if you do a search.
re: Robb S
Thanks for the translation and swift reply.
I tried to do a search typing in "Ramen Tokyo" and only got one match that had Ramen in Roppongi in the first dozen threads.
I figured there was going to be a ton of matches but only found one on the first page.
I'll do some deep diving in the older threads.