Wednesday, October 29, 2014

友喜 Yuuki: guilty of ramence [CLOSED]

I don't usually go for iekei, the bloody pork bone concoction that originated in Yokohama, but seems to be spreading all over Tokyo these days.

However, I do make exceptions. 100 yen exceptions. That is, 100 yen ramen for the ENTIRE MONTH of October. This called for a visit, and by visit, I mean three trips in the same week.

Yuuki is located right in the heart of Maruyama-cho, the Shibuya club and love hotel district and shooting location of a couple solid Sion Sono movies. Grab a bowl and get your S&M bondage action on.

Not only is Yuuki selling bowls of ramen for 100 yen, they're giving out their premium bowl with extra nori seaweed and a flavored half-boiled egg. I actually felt a little worried for the shop. That kind of price for a food with margins as thin as ramen is simply unheard of. Even the local drunk was waiting in line sporting a shit-eating grin. He also had his shirt tucked into his underwear while twirling a half-finished liter bottle of Black Nikka.

Noritama ramen (950yen --> 100yen)

Let's get right to it: this is, hands down, the best 100 yen ramen I've ever had. But it's also damn good for an iekei as well, even at the regular price. The broth is very thick and porky, though much less greasy and oily than other iekei I've had. Flavorful chunks of back fat float in the thick sludge.

The noodles are legit, soaking up the broth and retaining a medium chew. A confident bowl made by confident chefs.

You can add this shop to the short list of great late night Shibuya slurps. Lum and I will definitely be back here after getting our dance on.

Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Dogenzaka 2-18-7
Closest stn: Shinsen

Open from 1130am-3pm everyday (5pm-midnight on weekdays, and a ridiculous 9pm-7am on Fridays and Saturdays!)


Friday, October 24, 2014

二代目げんこつ屋 Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum: Genkotsuya

Genkotsuya is one of the rare ramen shops with its sole branch in the Ramen Museum. This is now the nidaime, or "second generation" of Genkotsuya, meaning the son of the late Mr. Genkotsu has taken over his father's business. The OG Genkotsuya first opened in 1980 in Koenji, a hip little area outside of central Tokyo. There were a few branches scattered around Tokyo proper, but they all brought the curtains down in 2007 due to the owner's failing health. Finally, his son had some ramen pangs and revived his father's spirit through this Museum-exclusive branch.

I really like this shop. The noodles are smooth, elastic, and are coated with finely chopped scallions.

The bowl looks deceptively simple, but the soup has untold depth due to a mix of dried tuna, pork, and chicken soup. The signature bowl is a mix of shoyu and shio broth that creates a well-balanced soup with a shiny, golden hue. I was already stuffed after eating so many bowls in one day, but couldn't stop sipping the soup because of its mild and soft taste.

If any more branches open up in Tokyo again, I'll definitely go back and honor the spirit of the late master Genkotsu. Even though Genkotsu Jr. is still young, I hope he continues his father's passion.

The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum is about a 5-minute walk from Shin-Yokohama station. All shops are open from 11am-11pm. You can access the website at:


Monday, October 20, 2014

頑者 Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum: Ganja

Continuing with the rest of the ramen block...

Ganja is well-known in the ramen scene. Or more specifically, their tsukemen is. A rich and salty tonkotsu-gyokai that stands out even in a greasy and certainly unhealthy ocean of tonkotsu-gyokai shops in Tokyo, Ganja needs no lengthy introduction. It probably doesn't even need a shop in the Ramen Museum, but there it was, and tsukemen is a rare breed in the neighborhood. What's more, it was going to end its lease at the end of the month.

Ganja's spicy bowl layers a thick syrup of chili oil on top of the usual pork and fish proceedings. 

Thick and chewy noodles that rank up there with any of the Tetsus or Rokurinshas of Tokyo. Ganja seems to be everywhere. I've had them at music festivals, tsukemen contests, and now the Museum, and their consistency is impressive. 

Ganja gives you a different kind of high. And it goes great with a beer.

The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum is about a 5-minute walk from Shin-Yokohama station. All shops are open from 11am-11pm. You can access the website at:


Friday, October 10, 2014

無垢-ツヴァイテ Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum: Muku Zweite

The last time I was in the Ramen Museum was 20 years ago; I was so small. I'm still small, but the Museum doesn't look as big as it did before.

Muku Z
weite is from Frankfurt, Germany. Muku means "pure," so we are getting the most unadulterated form of Zweite on the planet. Master Yamamoto used to be a salesman at a food trading firm in Japan, but he went to Germany ten years ago and opened his ramen shop in 2010. His knowledge in ingredients has guided his basic philosophy; he persistently uses only local foods or ingredients. Zweite is already popular in Germany, and Muku will only be in the Museum until 2015.

We ordered the Muku Ramen and Miso Ramen.

The Muku is supposedly a complex blend of pork and chicken bone broth, but all I could taste was grease. This was completely iekei, the greasy pork bone soup that originated in Yokohama. However, Muku isn't smelly and doesn't leave that unpleasant sticky residue in your mouth like iekei. It's a much less offensive taste, and is probably a bowl that has been adjusted to please most Japanese tourists, but because of this, the bowl lacks impact.

The Miso was much better. Zweite burns the miso with a mix of cabbage and bean sprouts in a cauldron of fire right before your very eyes. The smell and taste are wonderful.

The noodles are supposedly made from durum wheat flour, which is often used for pizza or pasta. But to be honest, they were a little limp. 

As a whole, this ramen should be a hit in Germany, but I was personally expecting something more creative considering the long lines. Here's hoping that Muku evolves just like a good ramen shop should. 

The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum is about a 5-minute walk from Shin-Yokohama station. All shops are open from 11am-11pm. You can access the website at:


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

赤湯ラーメン龍上海 Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum: Ryushanhai

Shin-Yokohama's Ramen Museum is a destination for most Ramen Lovers, but also a fun place to go for anyone who's interested in Japanese postwar history. Lum and I had a rare day off, so we decided to head down and grab a few bowls.

The first floor has a gift shop, but all the restaurants are located underground in a kitschy recreation of postwar Showa-era Japan. The sky is filled with nostalgic sunsets, and alleys have fake bars and cabarets for you to fulfill your fantasies of landing in an Ozu Yasujiro movie. There are candy shops, restrooms in the shape of bathhouses, and even a old-time bar to grab drinks once you've had one too many bowls, or you need a break from the relentless grind of salaryman life.

Some of these dens house actual ramen establishments. Though there are a few shops only available at the Ramen Museum, most of the shops at the Ramen Museum come from all over Japan for brief stints, and the neighborhood has seen the likes of Hakata legend Kurume Taiho, Ogikubo chuka sobaya Harukiya, and even the Hollywood tsukemen shop Ikemen. The best part about the Museum is that you can try "mini bowls" at all the shops. In an ambitious day, you can sample more than half the shops, and we were feeling ambitious.

Ryushanhai is now one of the oldest shops on the block, but I remember when this was brand-spanking new and had two-hour lines! Hailing from Yamagata, this is their only branch in the Kanto area.

They specialize in a oily gyokai miso that is topped with a fat spoonful of spicy miso paste. The broth is good, but it kicks up to 11 when the spicy miso is mixed in.

It has just the right amount of spiciness and flavor. It kind of reminds of the best Nagoya-style Taiwan ramen.

The noodles are fat and curly, almost like Kitakata-style handcut noodles, and pair great with the oily soup. Many shops have come and gone, but Ryushanhai is still my pick for the best bowl in the Museum.

The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum is about a 5-minute walk from Shin-Yokohama station. All shops are open from 11am-11pm. You can access the website at: