Friday, January 1, 2016



Welcome to Friends in Ramen, the mad ramblings and reviews of a ramen-obsessed New Yorker who has somehow found himself in Osaka.  I've created this blog for foreigners in Osaka who want to eat good ramen, English speakers abroad who want to eat vicariously in the great east, or anyone else who wants to stop by.

I've tried to keep my ramen shop reviews in a consistent format; there's locational information along with a photo of the outside of the shop, and tags describing the style and location.  If you're looking for something particular, give it a search, or otherwise browse with pleasure!

If you're still reading this and haven't scrolled down to the wonderful pictures of rich salty broth below, here are some good places to get started on the blog:

The ramen map - a (near) exhaustive list of the ramen shops I've eaten at in Japan
The Beginning - My first post, and my entrance into Osaka
Who Writes This Thing, Anyway? - More of me talking about myself!
Ramen Glossary - A list of terms that are often used in my posts, in case ramen is new to you

Enjoy Friends in Ramen!

ラーメンの中毒があるなんとなく大阪にいちゃったニューヨーカーが書いている「Friends in Ramen」というブログにようこそ!元々外国人のためにブログを作りましたけど、日本人もラーメンが好きな外国人の意見に興味あるかなと思っていたので、日本語も書くようにしています。日本語はけっこうむずいので、ミスとかあればすみません。いろいろな店で食べたことあるので、もし「こんなスープを飲みたいな」と考えたら、タグとかで検索してください。あとは、適当に楽しんでください!


The Beginning:大阪のデビュー

Friends in Ramenを楽しみましょう!

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Taiwan maze soba is in. Abura soba has always been a variety of ramen that has been missing from Osaka, but not any longer. At the time of writing, I've been to several shops in Osaka specializing it, and I'm sure more will open before I even post this.

What is Taiwan maze soba? It's a form of abura soba that has ground meat, shredded seaweed, onions, and chives, all with a raw egg sitting on top. There's some spice usually mixed in to make it have a wee bit of a kick. Marusho opened in Esaka in 2014, but several months later they opened a second branch in Shin Osaka, making it just that much easier for me to visit.



The Bowl
Time for the verdict. This was my first bowl of Taiwan maze soba, and it set the scene well. The noodles were thick and slightly fat. They had a glean to them given by the raw egg, and it helped them capture stray chives and seaweed as they rotated around the bowl. It had a good spice and was a bit salty overall. Luckily they provided vinegar on the side that cut the saltiness and mellowed the bowl out for its last few bites. With the remaining sauces and toppings, I was given ato meshi, a bit of extra rice that is becoming more common to soak up the last juicy bits.


Would I Go Again?
Yeah, this was a good Taiwan maze soba, and I would happily bring someone to introduce them to the style.


Should You Go?
If you haven't tried Taiwan maze soba yet, go to Marusho.


麺や マルショウ

Saturday, November 14, 2015


It was a cold Sunday and I was hungry, but I didn't feel like going far. I've been to most of the well-known shops around Namba, so I'm left with the random shops. Botan is one such shop, being the resident ramen shop of recently popular area Ura Namba. I'd been to Ura Namba several times to drink, but on this night I ventured there solely for ramen.


The Bowl
Regular ramen for a regular night. Botan's shoyu ramen was light and garlicky, filled with the oil and salt that shops like this need to use to have the taste ramen should have. The noodles and the chashu were both pretty standard, a little tough. Botan is a ramen shop fit for booze hounds in Ura Namba looking for one last sodium dose on their way home - not one I should be reviewing sober.



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Osugi Seimen

Just at the end of 2014 a new shop Osugi Seimen opened up in Nishinakajima. Having studied at Mitsuboshi Seimenjo, the chef decided to make thick chicken ramen. The two different offerings were chicken x chicken thick ramen, and chicken x fish wafu ramen. I am always tempted by good chicken and fish broths, but I was told to get the chicken x chicken for my first time.

2014年の12月に西中島で「大杉製麺」という店ができました。チェフがみつ星製麺所で終業して、独立しました。二つのとりらーめんを提供していました。鶏×鶏 濃厚ラーメンと鶏×魚 和風ラーメンがあって、和風ラーメンが気になりましたけど、一回目で濃厚ラーメンがおすすめと言われました。

The Bowl
Out came the double chicken. A thick chickeny paste, it had a slight smokiness, and tons of meaty flavor. The noodles were thick and curly, but required some force to dig them out of the swamp that was this bowl. The bowl packed a punch, and the onions, greens, and fried onion added just a bit of sharpness to keep the bowl edible. The chashu, too, would have been great on its own, but its succulent texture combined with the broth made it heavenly. By the end I did actually run out of stamina, but with a bowl this good, I don't care.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?



Sunday, November 8, 2015


Osaka is not lacking for shoyu ramen shops, but still, when a new one opens I am happy to oblige and visit. Yuaitei opened mid-2014 in the middle of Denden Town. They offered a spectrum of shoyu ramen: light, heavy, and straight. I went for the classic-sounding straight.


The Bowl
A good bowl of shoyu ramen. The both was your standard shoyu, if a bit on the dark and salty side. The yellow noodles were a bit thinner than I expected, but they were easy to take down and had enough punch on their own. There was chashu, menma, and a good egg on top.


Would I Go Again?
Maybe; I would take someone here to show them a good shoyu.


Should You Go?
If you're in the mood for a classic, look no further.



Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dotonbori Ramen Festa (Torita Seimen Shokudo)

Finally, after several visits, I tried every single shop at the Dotonbori Ramen Festa. I didn't get to make it to Sora no Iro, but I suppose I can live with that. The final shop was Torita Seimen Shokudo, a shop from Toyonaka that offered Japanese spiny lobster ramen with wontons. That's the right way to end this spree.


The Bowl
The broth was an orange combination of shrimp essence and oil; pretty good, but the styrofoam added a little too much flavor of its own. The noodles, on the other hand, were unaffected, and captured all of the shrimp without too much oil. The wontons were pretty much just boiled dumplings simmering in the shrimpy concoction, which was as tasty as it sounds. So long Dotonbori Ramen Festa, thanks for all the good bowls.



Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mensho Takamatsu

I had plans in Kyoto, so I decided to take a break from my hardcore schedule of eating at every ramen shop at the Dotonbori Ramen Festival. In its place, I decided I would eat some ramen in Kyoto. My Kyoto ramen knowledge is limited, but ramendb and tabelog help me out, and I decided to go to gyokai tsukemen shop Mensho Takamatsu.


The Bowl
The broth was a light gyokai dashi. A lot simpler that I'd expect from tsukemen, but it had a light sweetness that combined with the green onions, and it fit the thin, grainy soba-like noodles very well. There small juicy chunks of chashu floating in the broth. There were some onions, sudachi, and mitsuba on the side, and while I normally love adding sudachi to anything, this tsukemen really didn't need it.


Would I Go Again?
It was good, but there are so many other places I need to try in Kyoto so I don't know if I'll make it back.


Should You Go?
Kyoto-ites looking for a lighter, sweet tsukemen should come here.


麺匠 たか松