(100-0005 Tokyo, Chiyoda, Marunouchi, １−９−１)
Being a huge David Chang fan, I was eager to try Rokurinsha whilst in Tokyo on my second trip this year, since he had almost had a stroke at the texture of the noodles. I headed to Tokyo station and managed to get there around 2pm. I waited almost 60 minutes to get a spot at the counter, and ordered.
The food came and I tucked into what will go down as probably one of the best noodles I have ever eaten. Springy, thick, epically cooked. The only downside for me was the intense intense flavour of fish powder. I know its a favourite of the Japanese, but for me I try to push my palate at any given time but this was just a step too far. I ate the noodles and then left a lot of the broth even after asking to dilute it with the Yuzu stock (which definitely improved it) that they pour into everyones bowl.
Overall, i'd recommend anyone to go there if they want to taste some perfectly cooked noodles. Don't blame me if you can't handle the fishiness.
One blustery afternoon my flatmate burst in the room and said "Time for beef noodle soup". Hell yes. We walked down He Ping, and went down a couple alleyways until we found the shop. This was up there with some of the best beef noodle soup ever. Delicate, but rich broth, amazing noodles, succelent and falling apart beef and a sprinking of greens. This is the quintessential bowl of Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup.
(108, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District, Hanzhong Street, 52號)
Having spent the best part of 2 weeks eating Dim Sum from Din Tai Fung, and beef noodle soup, I headed to Ximen to walk around and try find some clothes. John met us there and after a couple of hours stretching the legs we found out they had a Ramen Nagi nearby. After having been pleasantly surprised by the chains in the Philippines it was decided to give it a go.
The taste was actually slightly different to the branch in Manila. I would go as far as claiming the Filipino branch was actually better (shock horror), but we still enjoyed having a deep, hearty bowl before heading back out into the slight chill of dusk.
The components were all good, but nothing was outstanding.
7/10 (photo by Paul Hart)
(2 Chome-17-6 Dogenzaka, 渋谷区 Tokyo 150-0043, Japan)
On a rainy day in Tokyo, we ended up randomly finding JBS (aka the Worlds Greatest Bar) and pulled up a stool to sip a whiskey and talk to Kobayashi. Since the weather was miserable and we had just arrived from Osaka on the Shinkansen, we asked him if he knew a good Ramen place nearby. Immediately his face lit up and he whispered "Kiraku!, Old style Ramen but OISHI!!!!".
Luckily for us it was 300 meters away down the road in Dogenzaka so we threw our backpacks into our capsule hotel and clambered up the narrow stairs to peruse the menu. The first thing that hit my eyes was the photos of the hard-boiled egg, a feature of ramen that I never really like (a 6 minute, soft, set yolk is always the best) however, Kobayashi had recommended it so we had to try. He mentioned that the Wonton-men was the best so all three of us ordered a bowl (800 yen) and a large bottle of Kirin and sat there waiting.
The old lady clambered up the stairs, and the bowls arrived via the dumbwaiter. Huge, steaming bowls of rich, dark, umami-bomb broth with wontons floating delicately on the surface, the aformentioned hard boiled egg, and some rather thick sliced, dry-looking pork. All our expectations were floored with the first taste of the broth. The deep fried shallots (or onions) adding that deep sweetness in a broth that resembled a rich French onion soup in some ways. Absolutely stunning. The highlight were the noodles. They hardly get better than this anywhere. Perfect thickness, chewy, able to soak up all that rich, unctuous broth. The pork and egg are secondary, the broth and noodles are the hero here so if you're looking for melt in your mouth Chashu, this is not the place.
If you're looking for tradition and perfection done right, affordable and slap bang in the middle of the red light district (which is strange and comical in the same light) then this is definitely the place for you. Fill your stomach and then head back to JBS or slip down to the basement of Beat Cafe and have a drink with Katoman.
10/10 (broth + noodles alone)
Open from 11:30am-8:30pm (but closed on Wednesdays)
(2-10-3 Dogenzaka Shibuya Tokyo)
If you've been sipping away the night at JBS, then escaped as soon as the throngs of hipster asshole descend on there (not even knowing what Jazz is), and you hurtle off to Blen Blen Blen or Beat Cafe, soon after midnight the hunger pangs kick in. Kiraku is closed, and the world seems an empty and vacant place. There is nothing really great within walking distance unless you want to head down to the Tower Records and wait in line for Ichiran (which is passable).
100 meters from Beat is Shinbusakiya. A small ramen joint that is open late, always a sight for sore eyes from the rambling salarymen and tipsy students.
The ramen here is not amazing but it is far from poor. I love the addition of bean sprouts always. The egg is decent, but everything else is a little above average at best. Solid companionships to the bleary eyes of beer, not nothing that would awake saudade in the sober customer.