Friday, January 08, 2010

Ramen in Tokyo You MUST Try

あけおめ, Happy New Year. A lot of websites make a "year in review" post this time of year. What the hell is the point? If you click "older posts" at the bottom, you can read more. Do you want a play by play wrap up of stuff you've already read? Now that I've pissed off about half my blogging friends...

This past year I have had some of the most awesome, mouthwatering, decadent ramen that Tokyo has to offer. You can read about ALL my ramen adventures over at my ramenadventures site. But for those who don't care so much (the majority) here is my list, in no order, of some ramen shops you MUST eat at in Tokyo. These are the shops that I especially want visitors to Tokyo to try, they will change your outlook on ramen. Click the links for more information. Maps are at the end.




Behind an inconspicuous black tarp storefront, with a single bone hanging by a chain, is Ganko. You feel like you are in a homeless person's tent/house in Ueno Park, but it's not. It's a ramen shop. You know it's gonna be good when the store is closed on days that "the soup isn't perfect". This place is hella hard to find too.




Just off the main road of Roppongi is Gogyo. You remember Roppongi, yeah? It's that place where you think you maybe paid a 40 year old Eastern European lady $500 for a handjob in an alley, but you can't remember for sure because maybe this Nigerian dude slipped some ruffees in your drink. Yeah, that Roppongi! Well the ramen here is second to none. The atmosphere is more like a lounge, and the fire show in the kitchen is them blackening some miso for your soup. For those who missed their last train home, Gogyo is open late on the weekends, till 3am. And they serve liquor.

TETSU ラーメン



You will wait in line. At least an hour. It's worth it. Tetsu serves up the best tsukemen noodles in town. You get a bowl of hot soup, a bowl of hot noodles, and a bowl of cold noodles. Dip the later two in the first. At the end, you get a red hot stone, which you use to reboil the left over soup so you can drink it piping hot. Sounds complicated, I know, but there's a manga style instruction sheet to guide you.




With Yokohama style ramen, 90% is just plain awful. But the original in Yokohama will have you planning your next trip down. The pork tastes like steak to me, and the soup is like drinking pure happiness. It's in a rad part of town too, so you can do more than just eat.




Of course I'm partial to Ivan Ramen, since the owner, Ivan Orkin, invited me to help out at a tsukemen festival. But this would never have happened if I didn't frequent his shop. Everything is tops here, but the noodles are on a whole other level. Foreigners always feel welcome here, and if Ivan isn't busy he loves to chat. And don't forget to say hi to Keizo!


I go here a lot. Most places that do "inventive" ramen don't do a good job. But Bossanova makes a green curry ramen that stops people in their tracks. It's spicy and creamy and rad.

Sure, there are a ton of good ramen shops in Tokyo. These are just some that I think will have a big impact on you. They are unique, fun, and best of all, cheap eats. You'll almost never pay more than $10 for a meal, so what are you waiting for?

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