Tuesday, February 4, 2014

麺の坊 砦 Toride: shibuya late night slurps 2

If you're ever stuck in Shibuya, here's another option for all train-missing, ramen-slurping, late-night revelers (if you missed it, here's option no.1). Toride, which prides itself on being a ramen "fortress," is run by a master who worked at the famous Ippudo, the ramen museum in Yokohama. He's been running his own shop for over 10 years. Yes, this is another Hakata-style ramen.

When we walked in, we got a dozen stares from customers in the shop, similar to the scene in the beginning of Itami Juzo's Tampopo. Not the friendliest place, but it was a rough time of night.

The noodles are thin and silky and go well with the well-balanced, pork bone soup. Nothing too strong or fatty here, another mild but inoffensive tonkotsu. The plus is the extra sheets of nori which comes alongside your standard chashu, green onions, and kikurage wood-ear mushrooms.

It's no coincidence tonkotsu is the go-to bowl for late night slurping. When you're filled with alcohol, this creamy and smooth soup hits the spot (or so I'm told, since I don't drink).

Toride ramen with egg (850yen)

I personally like the Hakata style because it's highly customizable, especially when it comes to the noodles.

If you want to change up your noodles' firmness, here's a quick Japanese lesson, from hardest to softest:

Kona otoshi - This means "shake off the flour." The noodles are boiled only for a few seconds to remove flour particles. This is as close as you can get to ordering raw noodles.

Harigane - The noodles are boiled for a few more seconds, but still very hard.

Barikata - "Bari" means "very" in the Kyushu dialect. These aren't soft, but not too hard either. This is my recommended noodle for your Hakata bowl.

Futsu - Average hardness.

Yawa - Soft.

Bariyawa - Very soft. Only recommended for those with weak stomachs and mushy palates.

Toride has a decent menu, from Japanese sake and shochu, to rice balls, dumplings, and other snacks.

You can also trick your bowl out with pickled ginger, spicy mustard greens, and grated garlic or sesame seeds. I recommend doing this no sooner than halfway through, since the broth the staff has worked so hard to prepare will become a diluted mess.

Shibuya never lets you sleep!

Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Shinsen-cho 20-30
Closest stn: Shinsen

Open from 11am-3am


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