Wednesday 22 November 2017

No ramen no life - Tokyo ramen show

I have a very good friend who I used to work with called Jorge.  He, like me, is a ramen lover.  Jorge, however, takes it to a whole nother level.  After Jorge left Japan, he moved to Brussels, Belgium.  One day he woke up craving ramen and before the day was out he was on a flight to Tokyo for a bowl of his favourite miso ramen!!  Possibly one of the most expensive bowls of ramen ever!  Jorge recently sent me a message on Facebook letting me know that the Tokyo ramen show was on.  In the midst of packing and moving apartment, a trip to the Tokyo ramen show was decided.

A few years ago I developed a New Year's routine.  I would go to my local shrine for the typical New Year's shrine visit (hatsumode) followed by a trip across town to my favourite miso ramen shop, Kururi.  Suddenly in late 2015, disaster struck.  Kururi closed.  After the tears and the wailing and gnashing of teeth had subsided (I don't know if gnashing of teeth is a sign of sadness and disappointment, but I was grieving)  I set about trying to find my new favourite miso ramen place.  I decided to extend this quest to the Tokyo ramen show.

The Tokyo ramen show is held each year at Komazawa Olympic Park so I set off towards Komazawa Daigaku station.  After a quick 10 minute walk from the station I arrived at the ramen show.  It was early evening so there were not too many people around.

Pulling out my English shop information map I plotted my first miso ramen raid.

Seeing that miso was the theme of the night, I picked out Musashi miso ramen as my first bowl of the night.

As I said, no lines, perfect!!  I grabbed my bowl and headed off to a table to tuck into my first bowl of the night.  It looked beautiful!

The charsui pork was fall apart tender, delicious.  The egg was seasoned nicely, probably the best part of the bowl.  The bowl was topped with a burnt garlic oil which initially added a punch of flavour to the bowl, but all too soon the flavour diluted into the rest of the soup.  The soup was okay, but no wow factor and the noodles tasted a bit cheap (I was to discover that all of the ramen noodles tasted the same, maybe the same provider).

Having finished my first bowl I decided to head for a walk around the park to get the digestion process started.  About 30 minutes later I was back for my second bowl.  Seeking another bowl of miso I lined up at Kanazawa Mentatsu Kenrokukai.

The crowds were now starting to appear.  After a 10 minute wait, I started getting nearer and the smells were getting stronger and stronger.

Finally I was there!

Just in time too as now the crowds were really swelling!

I sat down at another table to start slurping on my second bowl.

The winner in this bowl was the pork.  

Seasoned beautifully and cooked in black pepper, I could have eaten a whole bowl of it and gone back for seconds!    The soup in this bowl was also good, a stronger miso flavour, very smooth and mild with a lingering salty aftertaste.  Nice!

After my second bowl, I needed an extended break before attempting a third bowl so I took another walk around the park and washed everything down with a chu-hi.

Tempting fate, I went back for my third bowl.  Again, sticking with the miso theme I went for a bowl at Ramen Gimparou Sapporo.

The menma (bamboo shoots) on this one were great, soft and tender and the sesame seeds added a nice elements to it.  The charsui was pretty standard but the soup in this bowl was the winner, delightfully creamy!  Unfortunately I was not able to finish this bowl off.  The soup disappeared but the noodles were left remaining.  Three bowls proved to be too much.....

So, did I find my New Year's miso ramen replacement.  It is with great sadness that I report, no, none of the bowls I ate matched up to the great Kururi.  The search continues.

Thanks again for reading.  I hope you enjoyed it Jorge, and I look forward to slurping a bowl with you again sometime in the future.

Please leave me a message below, if you have a favourite miso ramen place around the Tokyo area, please tell me about it and I will check it out and report back here!  See you next time.

1 comment:

  1. From the facebook post: Now I have read it! Just looking at those pictures made want to grab my passport and call a cab and...wait...I can't do that anymore! But I have faith that we will definitely slurp a big mother ramen one of these days together. A few gyoza to wet our appetite can be a good choice....keep enjoying it! Lovely to read the article.