Ramen
Taishoken in Eifukucho

Taishoken in Eifukucho

A visit to Eifukuchō Taishōken (永福町大勝軒) is a little like a step back in time, to 1955 when the shop first opened, or thereabouts. Though the ramen has gone from around 35 yen to 1050 and higher, everything else about Taishōken’s look and feel has more or less held constant as it watched over the...
Futaba in Ogikubo

Futaba in Ogikubo

A small mountain of niboshi. Vats of tare and steaming soup stock. A deshi prepares a batch of orders under the watchful eye and guidance of the tenchō. We’re in Ogikubo, the birthplace of fish and shoyu-based Tokyo style ramen. Though Harukiya is generally regarded as the exemplar for old school Tokyo ramen, on this...
Miyoshi in Kiyamachi

Miyoshi in Kiyamachi

Miyoshi—formally Hakata Nagahama Ramen Miyoshi (博多長浜らーめん みよし)—is a bright light, both figurative and literal, that welcomes hungry passersby from lunchtime until sunrise the next morning on Kiyamachi-dōri, Kyoto’s mid-tier nightlife district for those whose wallets and connections are not sufficient for the rarefied settings one block over in Pontochō. The open shop front and friendly...
Ippudo Beijing Opening Day

Ippudo Beijing Opening Day

Before today, there was no ramen in Beijing worth eating. (My deskmate in Mandarin class is from Kansai and will back me up on this.) While this is far from Ippudo’s first foray into Mainland China—multiple shops in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and even one in Shenzhen have been well-received—Beijing finally gets in the game with its...
Osaka Ramen School

Osaka Ramen School

With regard to food and drink, there are some things I’d just rather make myself, while plenty of others I’ll happily leave to experts. For instance, I like my coffee just so, which means I’m picky about my beans, water and equipment. Conversely, no matter how much I may want to try, in the absence...
Kyushu Jangara in Akihabara

Kyushu Jangara in Akihabara

Kyushu Jangara (九州じゃんがら) is a chainlet of Tokyo ramen shops sought out for their rich, Hakata-style tonkotsu. Though not as intense as something you might be served at a Nakasu yatai, it’s a far more jacked up rendition of the northern Kyushu specialty than the cleaned up and smoothed out interpretation found at Ippudo. There...
Bassanova in Shindaita

Bassanova in Shindaita

Bassanova (バサノバ) is a one-of-a-kind ramen shop on Kannana-dōri in Hanegi 1-chome, a quiet corner of Setagaya Ward just a minute or two walk from Shindaita Station on the Keiō Inokashira Line. The shop’s best selling item is a tondaku wadashi soba (soba as in noodle, not specifically the buckwheat kind), featuring a blend of...
Ivan Ramen in Rokakoen

Ivan Ramen in Rokakoen

Ivan Ramen (アイバンラーメン) sits out in a quiet neighborhood at the northwest corner of Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward. While its physical address has it in Minamikarasuyama 3-chome, in typical Tokyo fashion everyone, including Ivan Orkin himself, refers to its location as “in Roka-kōen”, meaning the immediate vicinity of Roka-kōen Station on the Keiō Line. Originally, I just...
Kamukura in Shibuya

Kamukura in Shibuya

This is where it all started. Everything went down on a cold evening just after New Year 2008 in Shibuya’s Center Gai (渋谷センター街), a lively pedestrian street that’s a wonderful example of what happens when transit, walkability and placemaking all come together. Before coming to Japan I had long been acquainted with ramen in its...
AFURI in Ebisu

AFURI in Ebisu

Anyone who has ever met me for a meal and a meeting in New York will be aware that I will use any and every excuse to drag you to Minca or Ippudo for a slurp, even if neither is even remotely convenient to reach. A privileged (unfortunate?) few have been subjected to my attempts...
Hokkaido Food Fair Fall 2012

Hokkaido Food Fair Fall 2012

Mitsuwa Marketplace’s Hokkaido Food Fair made its annual stop in Edgewater, NJ last weekend. We’ve elevated our arrival technique to pro level, this time picking up bowls 2 and 3 of the day at 10:30 am (the guy in front of us was apparently even more of a die hard fan). Kagetora Ramen is back...
Kyushu & Okinawa Food Fair Summer 2012

Kyushu & Okinawa Food Fair Summer 2012

The latest Mitsuwa Marketplace food fair, featuring specialties from the Kyushu region and Okinawa, pulled into the Edgewater, NJ location this past weekend. While there are many vendors with foods available for the tasting and taking at these events, the featured ramen guest always draws by far the largest crowd. The line usually begins forming...