Sunday, January 1, 2017



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!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Menya Taku

Well, this is it. The time has finally come. I have completed the Osaka Ra-sai Stamp Rally! It took a while and there were times I had doubts, but I'm happy to have hit all sixteen shops. In fact, the last space I filled on my bingo card was a free space, meaning it could be fulfilled by any shop. And what better way to go out then with Taku?


The Bowl
For once I tried the abura soba at Taku. It was simple, missing the rich flavors of the ramen I love so much, but still with fish powder, bonito, and a creamy egg. I can't say I prefer this to the ramen or tsukemen, but it was a nice way to get a taste of Taku without feeling bloated for the rest of the day.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?


The complete card!

My passport that proves I will one day die of a heart attack

And a couple months later, my prize


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Kuso Oyaji Saigo no Hitofuri

I've been in Osaka for a while now, but there are still some ramen shops I haven't made my way to. Some shops I've known about even for a long time, but just haven't gotten around to visiting. The shop of the day is Kuso Oyaji Saigo no Hitofuri, which means "The smelly old man's last swing". It's a ridiculous name, but not much more so than the other associated shops, Jinrui Mina Menrui and Sekai Ichi Himana Ramenya.

Kuso Oyaji Saigo no Hitofuri specializes in clam ramen, and so their menu consists of three different varieties. They are all shoyu, but of different levels of richness, and with different kinds of clams: asari, hamaguri, or shijimi. They all looked good, but for my first trip I followed Goldilocks's lead and went with the asari one: not too rich, and not too light.



This is a shop you have to wait on line for

Some fashionable noodle art

The Bowl
In keeping in tradition with the sister shops, the bowl carried a solid shoyu with slabs of chashu covering large portions of it. The soup was sharp, with the light clam flavors providing a subtext to the shoyu. The noodles were flat and grainy, but picked up a measured balance of the clam and shoyu.

Of course what would clam ramen be without actual clams? The clams were almost a reverse of the soup itself: light and refreshing with just a feint hint of the dark broth. The chashu was thin, and since it wasn't fully dunked into the broth, was able to retain its own spicy pepper seasoning. There was also a straw-like bamboo shoot, that had an almost citrus-pine taste to it.



Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?



Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ramen Hayato

Hayato is a recent shop that starting getting buzz immediately. Located on the south end of Tenma by Minamimorimachi Station, Hayato is run by a former chef at annually ranked Kadoya Shokudo.


The front of the menu offers just two kinds of ramen: shoyu and miso. Of course I got the miso.


Oh yeah, there's also another secret shoyu on the back.


The Bowl
The fumes alone of this bowl were of a rough miso, and as soon as I tasted a bit of the broth, my mouth was filled with the strong flavors. It was oily and grainy, a not-so-smooth mixture that coated itself around the ginger-laden flat noodles. The ginger that laid beneath the surface of the soup soaked into the chashu too, and was only one of the hidden bonuses, including pieces of yuzu, bean sprouts, and crunchy chunks of menma.


Would I Go Again?
If I'm in the area, I'd stop in again for sure.


Should You Go?
Miso fans should check it out.



Monday, April 18, 2016


We're down to the wire, but I'm almost there. I'm talking about the Ra-sai Stamp Rally, that is. Just a couple more stamps to go, including the hardest one to get to, Berashio. Berashio only offers stamps at their Sumiyoshi shop, which is only open on weekdays for lunch. I sacrificed a highly treasured bit of PTO to make the trek.


Who is that by the entrance? I happened to go on the same day as Philoramen! We chatted for a bit and waited patiently for the shop to open.


Despite the lack of line, I was given a ticket to order my ramen. They had a large menu of different kinds of shio. I went with the yuzu shio ramen, which came with kaemeshi, a small portion of rice with kimchi and spring onions.


The Bowl
The bowl was a clear lake of shio ramen, with islands of chashu and egg, along with large helping of seaweed and onions. The broth was light and a bit pickley, spiced with scattered bits of yuzu. The noodles were thin and almost clear; easy to slurp but with the faintest amount of bounce. The chashu was a bit stronger but was good none-the-less; it tasted like a flank of pork chop. The egg was simple, but its melted as I slipped it in between my chopsticks. The only thing slightly off was the kaemeshi, whose kimchi overpowered everything around it.


Would I Go Again?
I would like to, but I doubt I'll be able to make it down there again.


Should You Go?
Anyone with access should check it out.


Just one to go!



Sunday, April 10, 2016


In spring of last year, I was offered an opportunity to appear on a morning show with a ramen critic known as Men Baka. Of course I was happy to take the opportunity. We met in the morning to grab a bowl at Ashiharabashi's Fujii. After some additional location footage around town, we headed to Miyakojima's Butakin, a super porky tonkotsu shop.


The Bowl
Butakin's ramen was a thick sludge of pork, with just enough green onions to keep the taste in line. I could talk more about it here, but why when you can just see the footage yourself?


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Men no Kuni

There can only be so much time between when a miso ramen shop opens in Osaka and when I visit it. This time the new shop is Men no Kuni, a second shop of the Namba miso joint. It resides in Osaka Ekimae Building #3, along with several other restaurants, ramen or otherwise. I kind of knew what I was getting into here; I ordered the recommended Hokkaido miso ramen and sat patiently in my seat.


The Bowl
This was a loud bowl of miso, salty and strong to match the greasy but pleasant vibes of the other restaurants in the basement food court. The noodles were fat and twisted; the ideal vessel for the oily soup. Fried bits of garlic sat atop like peanuts on a sundae. They provided texture to the broth. A fat piece of pork sat half-sunken, not tender but not tough either, and with just the slightest bit of sweetness.


Would I Go Again?
This was a tasty bowl of miso...but if I'm in Umeda I'll probably end up at legendary Mitsukabozu Kamoshi.

美味しい味噌ラーメンでしたけど、梅田にいたらうわさのみつか坊主 醸に行ってまうかな

Should You Go?
It's a solid shop for anyone craving miso.