Yes, it does exist! Tucked away in the first floor of a small apartment complex near Nakano Station, where Aurora Cafe rents out a space called Una Camera Livera, two [yes TWO!] types of vegan ramen can be found every other Tuesday. I gotta give props to rameniac for sniffing this one out though. He’s recently developed a side obsession to find the healthiest ramen around.
The two types of ramen are a mock tonkotsu and a mock shoyu. Being that rameniac is the tonkotsu guy and I am the shoyu guy, I guess I don’t need to tell you which ones we each ordered.
So was it good, you ask? The tonkotsu ramen had a peculiar thickness to its soy milk broth infused with sesame oil. It was edible. But topped with pig-ear-like fried tofu, this ramen screamed vegan (whatever that means).
The noodles were a firm hirauchi-men. I totally forgot to ask if these noodles were in fact considered vegan. They didn’t taste like noodles that don’t contain egg.
Anyway, I found the shoyu ramen much more impressive. I instantly recognized that the dashi was shiitake and the oil used was sesame. (It actually reminded me of my mom’s udon broth back home.) The shoyu was definitely on the sweeter side and as simple as this ramen was, I enjoyed it.
Until they open everyday, I won’t be eating this everyday. Okay, I won’t be eating this everyday regardless. But it’s good to know that there’s a vegan ramen option out there.
Afterward, since we were already in Nakano I wanted to scope out where the new shop of the recently-moved Jiraigen was. Then rameniac suggested we slurp down another bowl because he’s never tried it before. I wasn’t one to argue.
I ordered something I’ve never ordered before–the tsukemen. And when it came out, I was shocked. Well, I guess I shouldn’t be shocked knowing the past history between Jiraigen and Bassanova, but…
Their tsukemen tasted eerily similar to ours, swapping out the tonkotsu soup for chicken. And not only are the bowls exactly the same as ours, the ingredients look to be the same too.
Pss…you know what? I won’t say this out loud, but our tsukemen is definitely better tasting.
Man, I should have just ordered my favorite bowl of shoyu like rameniac did.
As far as the shop goes, this is almost exactly how I would want my shop to be like. The dude even stole my idea of having two turntables in a ramen shop.