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Nov 2, 2012 09:25 AM

Do you know this tiny, cheap ramen place?

I'm back from our trip to Japan, and will be writing reports on our food, both for my own blog but also for Chowhound, where I did some of my food planning research.

In the mean time, can anyone help me identify this inexpensive place just at the end of Piss Alley / Shomben Yokocho, where we enjoyed pork ramen and gyoza? We ordered at the vending machine just inside, and watched the two staff slice and prepare the pork, serve the soup and noodles and fry the gyoza before serving.

The pork was absolutely delicious, especially the slices served over the rice. I don't know what the sticky sweet marinade was, but would love to know so I can try and recreate at home. And the gyoza and boiled eggs were also superb.

The ramen, pork rice and eggs set was just 630 Yen, and the gyozas an additional 360.

I realise it's just another of many many such places, but if anyone knows what it's called I'd be grateful.

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  1. It's called Kitakata Ramen. It's a chain ramen shop with about 45 shops in Tokyo. But I do hear they're pretty good.

    10 Replies
    1. re: E Eto

      Yes it was definitely a chain, thank you so much.

      1. re: E Eto

        PS Do you know what bannai or ban-nai means, in reference to this place?

        And also, would be grateful for further input into that pork rice marinade/ style and maybe any info about that preparation of the eggs.

        1. re: Kavey

          No clue about the term used. If you are looking for recipe info or something like that, you might find it easier to get the recipe of Coca-Cola. I would imagine that yakibuta sauce is something that is about a half-century or more in the making. The "tare" at many established places are a result of the original marinade recipe, then the drippings from the meat drenched in that marinade added back to the original marinade mixture, then topped off with more of the original recipe, and so on and on. Same with the egg, I imagine. Soft boiled eggs (about 8 minutes, then there are a variety of ways to get the yolk consistency to be soft without being drippy), peeled and stored in a soy based marinade, so the egg soaks in the flavor of the marinade. Search for aji-tamago recipes. Here's an example:

          1. re: E Eto

            Thanks, E, I'll search on those. Much appreciated.

          2. re: Kavey

            Bannai would be the on-yomi reading of the family name Sakauchi, one of whom (female according to the site) I think started the chain at a little place in Kitakata City (Fukushima) a number of years ago. Japanese family names can occasionally (this is not so common overall but there are some common examples like Sato) be read via a modifed version of the Chinese (on-yomi) reading of the kanji. However I don't think Sakauchi would be one of the family names that ever got read this way, perhaps it/was is a local dialect thing or that was her nick name etc. Literally it means "inside the hill/slope".


            1. re: kamiosaki

              Thanks so much, that's very interesting, and I've been Googling about on-yomi and kun-yomi, hadn't know about those before.

              I came across Bannai when I was searching for more information, after E Eto kindly gave me the name of the restaurant above, as some pages referred to Bannai Kitakata.

          3. re: E Eto

            I used to eat their hiyashi-chuka in the summer.

              1. re: Kavey

                Hard to do when not living in Japan...

                1. re: Uncle Yabai

                  Aah, sorry, I hadn't realised you were not. :-)