Monday, April 22, 2019

Best Tsukemen in Tokyo, Japan



There are thousands of ramen shops in Tokyo. According to my homies at Ramen Beast, the estimates vary at around 6,000 to 10,000 as of 2017. Amongst those shops are also thousands of ramenyas that offer tsukemen or solely dedicated to offering only tsukemen.

Here’s a list of some of the best (and my personal favourites) tsukemen shops/dishes that Tokyo has to offer:


Tomita

You can’t talk about Tokyo tsukemen without mentioning the legendary Tomita. Tomita-san’s OG shop in Matsudo has been given the title “best ramen of the year” in Japan four years in a row by a prestigious ramen guidebook.



Tomita-san

The thick broth is stewed for 3 days. Leftover broth from previous days is used in the daily stock. There are four different broths combined. Tomita’s goal is to make something amazing out of something worth ¥880.





Tonkotsu, torigara, garlic, onions and ginger are part of his golden broth. Niboshi is added later on for smoky accent as well as mackarel. The broth was thick and had layers and layers of flavour with lots of umami. The shoyu tare, yuzu citrus, pepper and fish powder adds extra complexity and depth. There’s also menma, naruto, negi and some amazing chashu. The thick housemade noodles are made out of 4 types of flour. They are on the bouncy side and bit chewy. One more awesome fact, Tomita-san worked under the original legendary Taishoken founder and head chef, Mr. Yamagashi. Hands down, this is my favourite ramen shop in Japan to date.


PS: If you don’t feel like waking up early and lining up at 7am in the morning, they also have a shop at Mitsui Park Outlet in Kisarazu.

Address: 271-0092 千葉県松戸市松戸1339 高橋ビル
Hours: Open daily 11am to 3pm. Tickets reservation from 7am.
Nearest station: Matsudo

Fuunji

Fuunji is another famous tsukemen y’all need to check out. It is located Southwest of Shinjuku station. Minutes before opening Fuunji’s opening time, there would be queue outside of Miyake-san’s shop. Mr Miyake is a self taught ramen cook who has been all over the country to try all the best tsukemen shops. Both tsukemen and ramen offerings are available at the shop. But most of the customers come here for his signature gyokai chicken tsukemen.



Like most shops, you buy your tickets at the vending machine (buttons also have English translation). Once you are seated, you will be asked for your ticket and whether you want medium or large serving of noodles.


Their tokusei or special tsukemen (¥1000) is my go to option, which comes with an eggy type noodles, a medium thick seafood chicken broth topped with fish powder, pieces of chashu and ajitamago (flavoured soft boiled egg). The broth coats the noodles a little bit and is quite aromatic. It is full of umami with a bit of sweetness and some smoky accent.

For leftover soup, there’s dashi available (no extra cost) to add to your soup and make it more drinkable. Beware, this shop is quite tiny and there’s a queue of people right behind you as you eat.

Address: 151-0053 東京都渋谷区代々木2丁目14 北斗第一ビル1F
Hours: Mon to Sat 11:30am-3pm, 5pm-9pm. Closed Sundays
Nearest station: Shinjuku


Niboshi Tsukemen Miyamoto





If you enjoy the umami from dried baby sardines called Niboshi and you want to take it to another level in terms of flavour, then you need to visit Miyamoto in Kamata. As the shop’s name suggest, they specialise in Niboshi and go all out with it in their tsukemen. This is a popular shop so I suggest going before opening time.



Miyamoto’s Tokusei Tsukemen (特製極濃煮干しつけ麺, ¥1000)  has the most intense fish umami flavour I have come across. First up, the noodles were insanely good and the chashu was almost like a peppery ham. The ajitama was perfect and on the sweet side. The super thick niboshi tonkotsu broth was intense and super heavy on the niboshi umami but with heaps of onions to cut through the intensity. This is not for anyone with a low tolerance to salty and heavy umami flavours. But if you like it intense like me, then you need to try it.

Address:
144-0051 東京都大田区西蒲田7丁目8−1
Hours: Open daily 11am-3pm, 6pm-9pm
Nearest station: Kamata


Tetsu – Shinjuku station shop

Tetsu tsukemen is an institution in Tokyo. You’ll find many Tetsu shops in Tokyo. The Shinjuku station shop tends to have shorter lines and is quite convenient to go to.







The tsukemen broth here is quite similar to Fuunji’s in my opinion. The difference is that I find Tetsu’s broth less sweet and a tad more on the umami smoky side with a good balance of pork and smoky seafood flavours. The thick noodles comes hiyamori style which is served slightly cold. Try the special tsukemen (¥950)  if you want to try all the special toppings.

Address: 160-0023 東京都新宿区西新宿1丁目10 新宿区西新宿1丁目 南口地下街1号京王モール
Hours: Open daily 10am-11:30pm
Nearest station: Shinjuku

Men Washo

Tonkotsu gyokai tsukemen can be quite intense. If you want it on the lighter side, then you should try Men Washo in Sangenjaya.



Their tonkotsu gyokai tsukemen with ajitama (¥800) is the go to. The consistency of the broth is much lighter compared to most tonkotsu gyokai broths but it is still umami packed with smoky and sweet notes. The noodles are not as thick compared to most noodles used for tsukemen but is still amazing for capturing the broth with every dip. Even for a medium sized tsukemen, the serving is quite large.

Address: 2 Chome-6- Taishido, Setagaya City, Tokyo 154-0004, Japan
Hours: Tues to Sun 11:30am-2:30pm, 6:30pm-11:00pm,
Monday closed
Nearest station: Sangenjaya


Hayashida Shinjuku




For a lighter tsukemen option with a convenient location in Shinjuku (Behind the massive Biqlo store) y’all need to check out Hayashida. This place is known for their shoyu ramen but their premium special tsukemen (¥950) is pretty awesome too.

Their thick bouncy noodles, sous vide pork, ajitama and light chicken shoyu dipping broth (made with Oyama jidori chicken) was so damn good. The broth had this well-balanced umami, salty and sweet flavours.

Address: Ramen Hayashida
160-0022 Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku City, Shinjuku, 3-chōme−33−15−1F 新宿ペガサス館
Hours: Open 7 days 11am-4pm, 6pm-10pm
Nearest station: Shinjuku and Shinjuku Sanchome






Monday, March 18, 2019

Jazushi Ramen Lunch - Surry Hills, Sydney



What’s up fam?! Sorry for the long blog break. As y’all know, I was in the land of the rising sun for a while (posts of my Japan eats are coming on the blog soon). It’s only been over two weeks since we came back and I’m missing ramen already. Luckily, Sydney is not short in amazing ramen options.



Some of you may remember chef Shota Sato from Tokyo Bird and Osaka Trading & Co (also ex-head chef at Bar H). Since moving to Jazushi a few months ago to team up with his long time friend Yuki Ishikawa (owner of Jazushi), they have started doing ramen lunch sessions from Thursday to Saturday.  There’s shoyu ramen and tantanmen available on the menu along with some snacks like chashu nigiri and karaage chicken.


mmmmm se-abura


Shota’s shoyu ramen ($17) is pure comfort with a good dosage of umami. The broth is mainly chicken based with a blend of pork bones. The soy tare gives it complexity with a subtle depth and hints of sweetness. It also has the right amount of se-abura (pork back fat) for that extra layer of texture and flavour. The flat-ish noodles were cooked just right and the aburi chashu was smoky with sweet notes. It also came with negi, bean sprouts and a perfect ajitamago.


Their take on tantanmen ($17) is currently my favourite. Most tantanmen tend to be either too oily, too salty or so much heavy on the spices. Shota’s version at Jazushi is the most well-balanced and most premium tasting I have come across. The miso based broth though tends to lean slightly on the sweet side with nutty notes which is how I like it. It was also topped with flavoured pork mince and shiraga negi (or white hair leek as it resembles white hair).


Their aburi or grilled chashu nigiri here was amazing! Serving it in the form of a nigiri (3 pieces for $7.50) is genius.

The karaage chicken ($7) is one of the best that I’ve had. The coating was crisped and flavoursome whilst the meat was juicy.

*Ramen Raff was invited as a guest of Jazushi via Doq.

Jazushi
02 9699 8977

Ramen Lunch: 12pm to 2:30pm Thu - Sat


Friday, January 25, 2019

Ichibandori Japanese Restaurant - Neutral Bay



Neutral Bay is known as Sydney’s Japanese central and is also one of my favourite suburbs for obvious reasons. Many Sydneysiders will be familiar with renowned sushi chef Tomoyuki Matsuya (ex Hana-jurin). Tomo-san recently took over a Japanese bistro on Military Road called Ichibandori (which means “No.1 Chicken” in Japanese).







This cozy bistro showcases Japanese izakaya-style sharing dishes, to sashimi, robatayaki (grilled dishes) and ramen! The ramen side will be mainly looked after by none other than ramen master Hide Suzuki (ex head chef of Manpuku ramen). One little tip, the shop entrance is actually on Ben Boyd Road (between Military and Cheal Lane).




The kingfish carpaccio ($21) was absolutely beautiful. Fresh kingfish sashimi dressed with a light soy based sauce with sweet, tangy and umami notes.




The gyozas ($9) were perfectly seasoned with that caramelised crust that we all love. The filling was juicy and flavoursome with hints of ginger.






During one of their soft opening days, I got to try their massive bowl of Asari clams shio ramen. This was probably the most refined bowl of ramen that I’ve had in Sydney to date. It was legit! The bowl was priced at $25, which in my honest opinion is a bit pricey for a bowl of ramen. But, the price is justified by the premium toppings and ingredients that went into it. Thin modern Tokyo style noodles cooked yawarakame or soft to match the light chintan chicken and pork broth. The broth had so much complexity and umami for a light broth. That’s thanks to a shio tare seasoning that consists of over 14 secret ingredients to give it depth. There’s also smoky and umami notes from the toppings: clams and robata vegetables (various mushrooms and broccolini). I loved the crunch from the grilled matsutake mushroom. If that’s not enough to make it premium, it’s also topped with Pepe Saya butter and a spritz of sake to finish it off. Let’s not forget the premium roasted nori, menma and the most perfect flavoursome ajitsuke tamago (yolk was slightly runny, just the way I like it).

The Ramen Ichibandori sessions will be a partnership between Tomo-san and Hide-san. They will start doing ramen on a daily basis (except Sunday & public holidays) from 9pm (yes, that’s supper) till late starting from the 6th of February 2019. Customers will
be ablen choose from 2 or more types of ramen every night.

I expected nothing less from two of Sydney’s best Japanese chefs. I’m already planning my next visit which is hopefully in the next few days.

Ichibandori Robata and Ichibandori Ramen
4/81-91 Military Road
Neutral Bay NSW
Hours:
6pm till late Mon-Saturday (please check their instagram accounts for more updates)
Instagram: https://instagram.com/kuririn_tomo
https://instagram.com/ramen_ichibandori


Ichibandori Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato