Monday, July 15, 2013

航海屋 Kokaiya: white on rice

A little walk from Shinjuku Station is this classic shop with many prominently displayed billboards. Usually shops that flaunt their services so openly are suspicious. Good shops let their bowls (and lines of people) do the talking.

Despite the chest-thumping, Kokaiya is a solid bowl. It's a light shoyu broth, comprised mostly of chicken bones and lots of different types of fish with shiny silver skin. But none of that skin ever makes its way into the bowl, so all you taste is the heavy fishiness. Several pieces of very good chashu pork top the regular ramen bowl. 

Ramen with lunch chashu rice (600yen)

Lunch also comes with a free bowl of chashu rice, made from leftover bits of chashu. It's actually pretty tame on the meat flavor, but is a nice bonus considering the regular bowl of ramen is damn inexpensive. For an extra 100 yen, you can get up to three refills.

You can do far worse than Kokaiya in the Shinjuku Sanchome area. You can also do better, but shops like Kokaiya last a few decades for a reason. They deliver satisfying goods, consistently and quickly prepared, at a very reasonable price, and have just enough personal touch to not make you feel like you're dining in a Hidakaya chain.

Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-12-4
Closest stn: Shinjuku Sanchome (3 min walk)

Open 11am-1am Monday-Wednesday, 11am-2am Thursday-Saturday, 11am-9pm Sunday


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