Monday, January 1, 2018



tl;dr: Here's a list of great Osaka ramen

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:

Best Ramen in Osaka - A list of my favorite shops in Osaka, sorted by type and location
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!


大阪のベストラーメン:大阪の一番好きなラーメン屋さん。場所と味でソートしています ラーメン地図:今までに全国の食べたことあるラーメン屋さん
The Beginning:大阪のデビュー

Friends in Ramenを楽しみましょう!

Thursday, February 23, 2017


After a beer festival at Osaka Castle, I was with some friends and hungry for some drunken ramen. There are not a lot of places in that area, but a little while ago a second shop of Fukushima's tonkotsu shop Mankai opened up by Tenmabashi. We all agreed that this was an acceptable choice with our bellies full of beer, and we marched towards the shop. On my trip to the Fukushima shop I tried the standard tonkotsu, so this time I decided to go for the more exotic Tomaton tomato ramen.


The Bowl
This was a bowl of tomato ramen, but before that, it was still a bowl of tonktosu ramen. The soup was porky and garlicky, with the blended in tomato juices coming in second, but still powerful. The noodles were flat, soaking in deeply the tomato flavors, along with what tasted like clam. The chashu came as a few simple, flat pieces, and there were some olives in the broth as well, a surprisingly fitting mix-in.


Would I Go Again?
It's not on the top of my list, but I could see making a stop again.


Should You Go?
If you're going on a tonkotsu tour of Osaka, Mankai should definitely be included.



Saturday, February 18, 2017

Shinjuku Menya Fuka

One by one I will make it to all of the good shops in Kyoto. Or the ones near Shijo and Sanjo, at least. This time after attending an event in Kyoto I was left hungry with a friend, so we walked down the block to Shinjuku Menya Fuka. Fuka is a shio shop, and most of what they had were variants on that. It being my first time, I got the natural salt ramen with an egg.


The Bowl
Fuka's shio was exactly what I expect a bowl of shio ramen to look like: clear and simple broth, a bit salty, but not so much so that you can't finish it. There was a tinge of garlic mixed in, and the green onions helped the broth have some character, too. The noodles were solid, medium, and curly, and although the chashu fell apart as soon as I picked it up, it was clearly nicely stewed in soy sauce.


Would I Go Again?
This was a solid shio, but I won't go all the way to Kyoto for that.


Should You Go?
It's a pretty good bowl if you're looking for shio in Kyoto.


新宿めんや 風花

Sunday, February 12, 2017


My scans for new shops picked up Yamafuji, in Sakaisuji Honmachi. I didn't know too much about it, but it was in a good location, so I ambled over to check it out. Giving nothing away, the ramen was called "Yamafuji Ramen", leaving even the style a mystery.


The Bowl
It turns out the ramen was a seafood pork bone broth. The soup was grainy: a lid of hot oil containing very peppery seafood flavors in the vein of Osaka classic Tamagoro. The curly noodles went down easy, but were just a bit too thick to be coated by the spiced oil of the broth. There were two thick slices of pork that were tough, but nice and simple. Overall solid, and there was a bonus ochazuke addition of rice and seaweed at the end. It was a nice if gratuitous bonus.


Would I Go Again?
It was alright but I don't need to stop by again.


Should You Go?
I would push this restaurant in particular for Tamagoro fans.


らーめん やまふじ

Monday, February 6, 2017

Namae no Nai Ramenya

I had some plans in Kyoto, which meant another opportunity to try ramen in the prefecture I don't visit as often as I should. Once again by time I was limited to the greater Shijo-Sanjo area, but I found a recently opened shop that was pretty interesting.

"Namae no Nai Ramenya" means "the ramen shop with no name". Either the shop has no name, or that is the shop's name. At any rate, it was hard to find on a map, being in the basement of a random building and having no discernible sign outside.



Inside was a nice garden, and a vending machine that looked just like the one in Sugari, not too far from this shop. It turns out that the two shops are related, and like Sugari, this one offered motsu ramen, tsukemen, and curry tsukemen. I was feeling ramen, so I went with that.


A variety of spices available to mix in.

The Bowl
This was a chicken paitan that was very rich without being too thick and goopy. It was well spiced, with a bit of pepper, and mellowed out by the seafood soup. The noodles were brown and square. They looked and even tasted a bit like soba.

Unusually, there was a tomato in the ramen, a sweet interlude during the otherwise salty meal. There was a single meatball that was also quite interesting. It had a grainy texture, but it tasted more like juicy, fried chicken.



Would I Go Again?
I would; there are a few more shops in the same family that I might try.


Should You Go?



Thursday, February 2, 2017

8910 Hakuju

I've had motsu ramen and tsukemen before, chewy innards mixed in with soup and tare. 8910 Hakuju specializes in horumon ramen; another kind of ramen with offal. I had no idea what I was getting into, but with the choices of red, or white, I went with the spicier-sounding red.


The Bowl
If I didn't enter a ramen shop for this blog, I would not have known what I ordered was ramen. It was fluorescent orange and came in a clay bowl. This is what I would expect if I ordered horumon nabe, or even a Korean hotpot. There was some good spice, but it was pretty salty too. The first taste or two were good, but with each bite the novelty wore off a bit. The noodles were thin, but so was the broth, so they were a good match. The melty if slightly chewy horumon was the highlight, as I would hope from a horumon specialty shop.


Would I Go Again?
This was a bowl I'm glad I had once, but it didn't quite last long enough for me to want to make a return trip.


Should You Go?
If you want something different, try this place.


ホルモンらーめん 8910 白寿

Monday, January 30, 2017

Chuka Soba Kazura

Lunch only ramen shops are very frustrating, but pretty common. I'm not sure why so many shops don't open for dinner, and especially so many popular ones. I guess if you sell out of your soup during the day, you don't need to pay staff for dinner. Still, it makes them annoying to visit.

Today's lunch only shop is luckily one very central: Chuka Soba Kazura in Awaza. Kazura is a small shop, seating only 9, so I had to wait on line for a bit before I could enter. They had only two menu items: a shoyu dashi soba and their shio awai soba. I waited my turn and ordered the dashi soba.



The Bowl
Just from looking at this ramen I would not be able to tell it was shoyu. Similar to all-time favorite Yashichi, it's kind of a modern approach to shoyu ramen. It was the closest thing I've seen to a ramen latte: frothy, milky, and easy to drink. The chicken-based umami was there, but with very soft edges. The noodles were round and medium-thick, maybe even a bit too thick, but solid overall. The chashu was light with just a bit of chew. It didn't have that much flavor on its own, but provided a different texture to take in the creaminess of the broth.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?


中華蕎麦 葛