Tokyo Ramen Trip 2008 – Day 1

After 11 hours on the plane to Narita, 2 hours on the Bus to Tokyo, and a 20 minute taxi ride to my brothers house in Shinjuku (all without a single wink of sleep), I finally arrived. Wanting desperately to pass out, we decided to go eat yakitori and skip ramen for the night. But as I sat at the restaurant eating tebasaki, nankotsu, tsukune, shishito, etc., and drinking 3 beers, I finally woke up and came to my senses. Maybe it was the freezing temperature that caused this yearning, but I needed to have some ramen. So we dropped off the kids and hopped on the Marunouchi line to Ogikubo.

Tonkotsu Ramen Chabuton – Ogikubo: Remember Chabuton in the Costa Mesa Marukai? I always wondered if that was related to Chabuya and I finally found the answer. I didn’t stop to try the ramen here because I had another place in mind, but I still wanted to take a picture of the place. Chef Morizumi is the TV Champion!

Chuuka Soba Harukiya – Ogikubo: Just a few shops down from Chabuton, Harukiya specializes in Chuuka Soba. Supposedly the most popular ramen-ya in the area right now (ramen popularity can change with the seasons) I had to give it a try. And it seems I wasn’t the only one. The line was out the door but moving fast–always a good sign.

This Chuuka Soba was different from any other ramen I’ve tasted in the states. The soup was unusual at first (because its strange tanginess caught me by surprise), but I couldn’t believe how it amazingly incorporated 100 percent effort from all my tastebuds. The only way I can really describe this ramen is by comparing it to japanese electronics. You know how Japan always has the coolest cell phones and gadgets years before we start to see them in the states? Well it might be the same with ramen. This could be the ramen of the future… The noodles were extremely fresh and by their texture you could tell right away that they were original. You won’t be finding these at any factory. The toppings (chashu, menma, negi, and nori) were better than average, but the soup was the overall winner here.

UPDATE: Word is is that this is the ramen that started it all in Tokyo so forget all that ramen of the future stuff I said above. Haha.

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