Wednesday, January 22, 2014

阿夫利 AFURI: shio pioneer

AFURI is a popular shop among foreigners and girls. Every time I go, I see at least one group of tourists or expats checking the place out. And I'll often see girls here eating by themselves, which is unusual for ramen shops since they usually cater to sweaty and/or smelly men. I took Hearts here in the beginning of our ramen journeys, but this has been a favorite of mine for a while.

For you see, shio - or salt - ramen once seemed boring to me. The soup was so simple; there was no impact. But AFURI blew me away after the first slurp.

Yuzu shio ramen (850yen)

The clear soup is pumped with high quality chicken oil (which you can order tanrei, for regular, or maroyaka, for rich and oily). Yuzu, a Japanese citrus, accents the soup for a fresh aftertaste. The result is balanced harmony. Both Hearts and I have been captivated by this simple yet complex shio ever since.

There's even bits of yuzu peel!

The noodles are thin but al dente, and there's a good smell of flour. Smooth, like the rest of the bowl.

Even though I don't usually drink all the soup, I always try to here because I can't help myself!

AFURI changed my idea of shio ramen, showing me how delicate but profound shio can be. It's now my second favorite flavor after shoyu.

And if they couldn't get any better, they always play a Studio Ghibli film on a flat screen TV in the corner of the room. This is Hearts' favorite Ghibli film. Have you seen it?

Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Ebisu 1-1-7
Closest stn: Ebisu

Open from 11am-5am (great late hours!)


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