Not Your Usual Ramen! 8 Shops With Out of the Ordinary Ramen on the Menu
Ramen, one of Japan’s beloved soul foods, has varieties for just about every region and it seems like every week some new and imaginative spin is being scooped up and ladled into bowls. Here are some examples of unusual or especially tasty ramen and ramen variants that you can find in Tokyo.
Tonkotsu Ramen – Muteppō 無鉄砲 – Numabukuro
Tonkotsu (pork bone) is one of the standards when it comes to ramen but, how many places have you been to where 300 kilograms of pork bones are used EVERY DAY to make the broth? Muteppō located near Numabukuro Station on the Seibu Shinjuku line is one such place. Unlike many other varieties of tonkotsu ramen, which are known for their pungent aroma, Muteppō’s thick broth will not leave you smelling like you just had tonkotsu ramen. In addition to choices of noodle firmness, broth thickness, and green onion portions, Muteppō offers extra portions of thinner fish or tonkotsu broth to thin out the soup if it becomes too overwhelming to finish your bowl. As a ramen shop featured in just about every top ranked list, Muteppō is definitely worth going to just for a bowl.
4-5 Egota, Nakano-ku, Tokyo
11:00am – 3:00pm, 6:00pm – 11:00pm (closed Mondays)
Muteppō Official site: http://www.muteppou.com/
Miso Ramen – Misoya Ringodō みそや林檎堂 – Higashi-Nakano
Miso is another of the main categories of ramen but, at Misoya Ringodō things have been taken to an extreme! The super thick broth is barely visible as thick slices of the home-made charsiu and other toppings, including their self-proclaimed “number 1 egg in Japan”, are layered atop a bed of noodles for a marked departure from the Hokkaido specialty. The tokusei (deluxe) version features a Post-it note-sized pat of butter which adds to the richness and there is even a pirikara (spicy) version with a bright red dash of pepper to kick the flavor up another notch.
1-31-8 Higashi-Nakano, Nakano-ku, Tokyo
11:00am – 3:00pm, 5:00pm – 9:00pm (closed Sundays)
Bakuhatsu Ramen – Misoichi 味噌一 – Various Locations
This 10 store chain of ramen shops has a challenge for those who are fans of spicy food. Their Bakuhatsu Ramen (explosive ramen) is a bright red bowl packed full of spices that is sure to clear your throat and open your eyes wide open! They do offer more mild varieties where you can better taste the subtleties of the miso-based broth but why not take a chance? The Bakuhatsu Ramen may be one of the only instances where you will not be able to drink all the soup. It burns!
Misoichi Official site: http://www.misoichi.com/index.html
Cheese Ramen – Tsukumo 九十九 – Ebisu
With only a limited amount made every day, Tsukumo’s Cheese Ramen is usually sold out by the end of their lunch service. Sharp Hokkaido cheese and miso is piled high on top of tonkotsu ramen for a bowl of cheesy melty goodness that remains until the last spoonful. While there are locations in Tsudanuma, Chiba and Manila, Philippines, the best place to sample their most famous menu item might be the Ebisu main store. For an added touch of Italian flair, they also serve up a Tomato Cheese Ramen.
1-1-36 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
11:00am – 5:00am
Tsukumo Official site: http://www.tukumo.com/index.html
Nama Ham and Fromage Ramen – Due Italian – Kudankita
Located between Ichigaya (JR Sōbu) and Kudanshita (Tokyo Metro Tozai/Hanzomon, Toei Shinjuku), Due Italian connects Asian and European culinary culture with the addition of thinly sliced prosciutto and a gooey blob of cheese floating in the golden salt-based broth. The Nama Ham and Fromage Ramen is a two-step dish as a small bowl of rice is included, allowing you to enjoy a risotto after you have finished the noodles. Also of note is their Chilled Tomato Ramen, Milk Ramen, and Lemon Ramen.
4-5-11 Kudankita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
11:00am – 4:00pm, 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Due Italian Official site: http://www.dueitalian.jp/
Milk Ramen – Manpuku 万福 – Koenji
Located on the edge of the PAL shopping street and tucked away behind all the used clothing stores is Manpuku, a small ramen shop with a surprisingly varied menu. Their Milk Ramen (gyūnyū ramen) might be their most unusual menu item. The soup is rich and creamy and it comes with a quail egg too! For a little bit more, you can have it with extra slices of char siu.
3-23-19 Koenji-minami, Suginami-ku, Tokyo
Green Curry Soba – Bassanova – Shindaita
Perhaps the most internationally known shop on the list thanks to it’s connections to Ramen Burger inventor, ramen blogger, restauranteur Keizo Shimamoto, Bassanova’s New York location may have won critical acclaim but, there’s nothing quite the original Tokyo location. The green curry soba is one of several fusion ramen offerings on the menu created by the many chefs that have passed through the kitchen over the years. The green curry pairs smoothly with the tonkotsu soup for a unique and flavorful experience.
1-4-18 Hanegi, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
11:30am – 2:45pm, 6:00pm – 1:30am
Black Tantanmen & Yuzu Tantanmen – Sesami-tei 瀬佐味亭 – Bunkyo
Located near the historic Bunkyo Campus of University of Tokyo, Sesami-tei serves up 2 visually distinctive variations on the spicy Sichuan noodle dish. The Black Tantanmen is full of black sesame with white sesame seeds floating on top for a nutty, calorie dense bowl perfect for students needing an extra boost of energy while studying. On the other end of the flavor and color spectrum is their Yuzu Tantanmen which packs a zesty citrus punch to shake out any fatigue from studying too much.
5-25-17 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Monday – Saturday 11:00am – 10:00pm, Sunday 11:00am – 9:00pm
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ramen and chefs all over the world are experimenting with combining ingredients in creative ways every day. You could probably spend the rest of your life eating ramen for every meal and never get to eat them all?
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