l'isle joyeuse

ramen crawl

Posted on: May 26, 2009

i’ve heard of a pub crawl but… haha i’ve told myself i must try ramen in each place i possibly can go, and here we go 😀 in the 4 weeks i’ve been in japan, we ate ramen 5 times 😀 one of the shops we visited twice because a) it’s so damn good, and b) it’s just 10 minutes away from where we were living.

1. まこと屋 makoto-ya

first, the best ramen in the world (so far) 😀 a small modern-looking shop called まこと屋 makoto-ya, about 10 minutes away on bike from where we were living in osaka. the first time we ate here, it was a really late lunch, and we just popped into the shop on the first day we set foot on japanese soil. knowing that the first ramen shop we enter would give us the first impression, we were a bit dubious but our fears were soon set to rest.

they had a clear menu with nice photos and prices were not exceedingly expensive. for a set of a bowl of ramen plus one side dish (e.g. gyoza, fried rice, etc.), Y800 seems to be a well-worth-it price (to me at least). plus, one good thing about restaurants and shops in japan is that they always serve iced water/green tea for absolutely no charge at all 😀

their ramen has a tinge of spiciness i can’t quite put my finger onto. it’s not exactly chilli-like, but it’s a bit like chilli-oil? (ginger?) i’m not really sure but it’s not so spicy to the extent of me not being able to eat it 😀

my set comes with a bowl of white rice so in the end when i’m done with the ramen, i poured the soup all over my rice and ate it. BLISS! rice and soup never tasted SO good. i could just eat rice and soup and be happy.

2. たから屋 takara-ya

next is a really old-looking shop in kyoto, called たから屋 takara-ya. with counters surrounding a steamy kitchen area and a warm “irrashai~!” every time the sliding door opens and closes, one could feel how the shop still retains a traditional and nostalgic atmosphere.

the only downside for anyone who can’t read japanese is perhaps the all-japanese menu. no pictures at all. hahah! all they had was this white menu on the side of the wall where we sat down, with horizontal japanese characters followed by the price of the food. man was it a headache even for us… (reading downwards is NOT one of my specialties) the price is about the same, Y800 for one set.

their ramen is a bit more on the salty side as compared to the shop above 😀 none of the spiciness but it was not bad at all 😀 though the pork was a little less delicious than makoto-ya 😀

my set comes with a plate of chicken karaage <3<3<3 now this, is orgasmic *O* simply wonderful! i couldn't move after finishing both the chicken and the ramen D: haha

3. 嵐 arashi

okay, i only entered this shop because of the name of the shop XD XD XD ahahaha… but we were shopping in aeon at that time and were all really hungry for lunch. being a big shopping mall, this shop was probably the cheapest we could find, since every other shop had food that were priced from Y1000 onwards.

ordering was easy because the menu had pictures 🙂 i ordered the basic ramen which was priced at Y620. the ramen was not all that great, but i loved the soup. it probably sounds disgusting if i describe it, but the soup has little flecks of fats from the pork used to make the soup! WHICH. WAS. OMG. WOW.

😀 nori was soggy from the soup. i love it that i can order ramen without the things i like in japan >▽<

4. 天下一品 tenka ippin

finally we have a famous ramen chain-store called 天下一品 tenka ippin. i guess it could be like the yoshinoya of ramen? 😀 hahah it’s everywhere! we went to one of the shops in kyoto (gion area) and i swear within that small square of gion there were TWO of them. why would anyone need two similar shops in the same place befuddles me. we were recommended to come to this shop by someone we met in the center, who insisted that tenka ippin was the place for ramen with rich and thick soup, claiming that the ramen there was “beri beri kotteri!” (kotteri meaning thick/rich, when talking about liquids/soup)

and boy was he right 😀 the soup was so thick that i couldn’t see the ramen… the pork served together with the ramen is cha siu style >▽<

the most delicious gyoza in the world ❤ (ordered separately)

the menu was a bit confusing because there are no pictures but then again… you could just tell them "ramen" and be done with it i suppose. BUT! the most amazing thing happened when we were just about done with our food. a french couple came in and had no idea how to order, and they didn't know english (only basic words like ramen and sake? and whiskey lol) so we had some fun helping them order. in the end the staff was so grateful and glad we were there to help them with the foreign customers that they offered us a "サービス service." in japan, this is what they call a bonus, extra or a freebie.

we received one each! warm and fluffy! it was my first time eating something like this so i didn’t know what it was, so once i bit into it…

OMG *O* i died and came back to earth again, i kid you not… this is a warm/heated dessert called “ごまだんご goma dango” (black sesame dango) 😀 i don’t usually like black sesame but this one was so awesome 😀 it’s salty on the outside (the crispy brown part) and sweet on the inside ❤ i want to eat this again 😀

verdict : you can enter any ramen shop in japan, ANYWHERE and be reassured that it will taste really, REALLY good.
i miss japan 😦 i want to eat dango, damnit.


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slice-of-life entries of my life in japan as an exchange student :) feel free to comment... they're my daily pieces of happiness!

to read my travel posts, please click on "voyages"

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