Friday, July 18, 2014

千里眼 Senrigan: the ultimate hiyashi chuka

It's officially summer in Japan. This means smelly trains during rush hour. Breaking out into a sweat immediately after exiting the shower. Running the air conditioning all night. Cicadas.

It also means that the hot ramen bowls your authors slavishly devour are slightly less devourable when the temperatures go well into the 90s. For wimps like us, some shops come out with cooling summer bowls.

I live a stone's throw away from Senrigan, and I've been here several times to eat their jiro-kei monster bowl, which is probably the most popular in all of Tokyo.

But I was here for another reason. The summer-only jiro-kei hiyashi-chuka.

Hiyashi-chuka (830yen)

Senrigan replaces the mound of bean sprouts and cabbage with a pile of thinly sliced daikon radish, cucumber, carrots, mizuna greens, and even a cherry tomato. The entire thing is topped with a layer of back fat, a dollop of garlic, drenched in goma sesame sauce, and then drizzled with garlic mayo, a house original. The noodles are slathered with back fat like an abura soba, and there are fried red bits that give the bowl an extra spicy and crunchy kick. There is no soup.

The first bite is nearly orgasmic, there's so much flavor. But soon one faces the daunting task of consuming the entire thing. Mouthfuls of noodle and julienned vegetable soaked in grease, sauce, and garlic. Halfway through, each bite became exponentionally more difficult to swallow.

Hiyashi-chuka is supposed to be a refreshing bowl that your ramen-adverse mother would enjoy, but this was intense. Leave mother at home for this one. Those with big appetites and a high threshold for garlic are advised to try it before the summer is over, but get there early, as the line was 40 DEEP by the time we left the shop.

Tokyo, Meguro-ku, Komaba 4-6-8
Closest stn: Higashi-Kitazawa

Open from 11am-230pm and 5-945pm


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