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!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sekai ga Men de Michiru Toki

After Jinrui Mina Menrui became a hit, its creators have expanded into a couple other shops. And, as happens with time, employees of the shop have come into their own and created their own shops. Today's shop is Sekai ga Men de Michiru Toki, another wordy title that means "the time when the world is full of noodles".

Just like the other shops, this one focuses on dark shoyu ramen. There is the assari ORANGE PHANTOM, the koi BLACK YOUTH, and the one I went with, the middle-of-the-road ALONE.


他の店と同様に醤油ラーメンがメインです。あっさりのORANGE PHANTOMも濃いBLACK YOUTHもありました。バランスがとれたALONEにしました。

The Bowl
The ALONE was made with soy sauce used with sashimi, and it came through in the broth. More than usual the broth tasted directly like soy sauce, and it had the kind of sweetness that goes with wasabi and fish. The medium, grainy noodles paired with this definitely brought memories of sushi. The other toppings added their own seasonings as well. The chashu was thin and simple, but it had lemon pepper kick, and the menma were knotty branches swimming in the soup.


Would I Go Again?
I would like to.

Should You Go?


Tuesday, June 21, 2016


June is prime time for Japanese plums, which means it's a prime time for umeshu. A friend of mine and I visited Wakayama for an umeshu festival, and given how cheap it was and how many varieties there are, we hit it pretty hard. The only way to end a sweet day bender like that is with a bowl of Wakayama ramen. It had been a while since I tried the Wakayama variety, so I was happy to swing by shop Kusumotoya, not too far from the station for their tonkotsu shoyu.


The Bowl
A strong tonkotsu, porky but full of salt, too, this ramen had just the right viscosity to balance out my drunken stupor. Overall the bowl was simple: thin noodles, and thin chashu, both with a slight amount of chew. Good for what it was.


Would I Go Again?
It was good but it's far. I'll try a different Wakayama ramen shop.


Should You Go?
It's good if you happen to be in Kainan city.



Saturday, June 18, 2016


For today's trip I decided to go to Tantan in Tennoji, a sister shop to Senba Tantanmen in Yotsubashi. Just like the former shop, they had a variety of different styles, including a mild white sesame bowl. I had to go with the spicy one, though, so I went with the Taiwan-style red tantanmen.


The Bowl
As advertised, the bowl of ramen reminded me more of Taiwanese beef noodle soup than of traditional ramen. The broth was thin and dark, spicy, and with small pieces of pork and chives floating about. The noodles were short, curly, and chewy, and the miso diced pork was good, but the hard-boiled egg felt a bit out of place.


Would I Go Again?
It was good, but I don't think I'll make another stop.


Should You Go?
If you're looking for some Chinese-style tantanmen, check it out.


中華厨房 担担

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Noko Kyo Toripaitan Menya Mitsuru

Most of the time I eat ramen in Osaka, but one by one I am making my way through the shops in Kyoto, especially the ones in the downtown districts of Karasuma and Kawaramachi. Today's shop is Noko Kyo Toripaitan Menya Mitsuru, off a small alleyway by Karasuma. As the "toripaitan" in their name suggests, they specialize in chicken ramen. They had a white shio and a black shoyu, so I decided to try the shio.


The Bowl
The broth was yellow and clear, but was a surprisingly hearty chicken soup. It was pretty hearty, but the short, and thin noodles still went well pulling the goop and various toppings out. A ginger-filled pork ball, some light and tender chashu, and some sharp onions that had a scent of red onions you find on a hot dog were among the items. When the thing was taking me down towards the end, I added bit of black shichimi and sansho, which toned it down a bit.


Would I Go Again?
Yeah, it was a solid chicken ramen shop in a good location.


Should You Go?
If you're into chicken ramen, check this place out.


濃厚京鶏白湯 めんや美鶴

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Which is more exciting, a new shop by new people, or a new shop by people you know you love? The people behind Junk Story and Men to Kokoro 7 opened a new shop in convenient Niponbashi: Hirudora. Hirudora stands for "lunch dragon" or some similar pun if that helps it make more sense. The dragon part I assume refers to the style of ramen - red, spicy miso. As with any good Japanese spicy restaurant, they let you choose your level of spice. At level five it starts to cost my money, so I low-balled it with level three.

全く情報がない新しい店か、好きな店の新しい姉妹店、どっちが盛り上がりますか?Junk Story麺と心7を作った人によって便利な日本橋で「ひるドラ」という店ができました。名前は面白いですけど、「ドラ」を見るとドラゴンのファイアを指しているかなと思っていました。ラーメンはそれっぽく辛口味噌です。辛さが選べて、5辛からちょっとお金がかかるので、3辛にしてみました。

Well if it isn't some congratulations flowers from Tori Soba Zagin.

鶏soba 座銀からの花です。

The Bowl
What do you have to put in the soup to make it that red? The answer, I infer from the flavors, is lots of ra-yu and red pepper. The abundance of garlic helps draw out the flavors of the soup, too, which ends up tasting a bit like Korean ramyun. Underneath all this, the miso is secondary. The noodles were square and thick, and were good and pulling out the essence of the flavor, while leaving a lot of the spice and oil behind. There were chewy pieces of sliced pork that added some nice texture, and a fatty and flavorful cut of chashu.


Would I Go Again?
This was the weakest of the three shops, which means I still wouldn't mind going again.


Should You Go?
Anyone looking for some spice should stop by, but if you're not into that, this place is not for you.



Thursday, June 2, 2016

Ramen Bakajikara

I don't make it to ramen shops outside of Osaka city as much as I'd like. That's why I'm happy when any shop decides to bring their business closer to me. Ramen Bakajikara is a rare miso shop, and just recently they decided to move from the suburbs of Sakai right into downtown Namba. Bakajikara specializes in spicy ramen, and whenever I'm at a shop like this I get confused on where on the spicy spectrum I should order. For their numbing spicy kurenai miso ramen they offered levels from one to three, so I played the middle and ordered level two.


The Bowl
This was an intense, flavor-packed miso, loaded with spices and crushed pepper. From the moment my lips touched the soup I could feel the numbing peppers begin their slow course of removing feeling from my mouth. The noodles did not hold back; they were medium-thin but chewy in a similar way to tantanmen noodles, and they brought the spice with them. Otherwise to cut the heat there were a smorgasbord of veggies: bok choy, carrots, kikurage, onions, and more. Really, though, they were all just vehicles for slow demise of my taste buds.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?