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, August 30, 2015


In Uehonmachi, a new shop, "Tuna" has opened. Their name is 綱, pronounced "tsuna" in Japanese, but I guess they chose "Tuna" because they make seafood ramen? Wrong. Straight up shoyu chuka soba for this joint, but what's in a name, anyway?


The Bowl
This ramen was reminiscent of Takaida-kei bowls, the super dark and salty shoyu from the east of Osaka. Unlike those bowls, though, Tuna's broth was much smoother, making it easier to drink, but with the downside that the smooth, ropey noodles were a bit too thick for the soup.  The menma were a bit peppery, an unusual but welcome addition, and a single thin slice of juicy chashu topped the bowl.


Would I Go Again?
Maybe, it was solid but I'm not in a rush to return.


Should You Go?
This shop would be good for anyone who wants to try a version of Takaida-kei ramen that is very drinkable.


麺処 綱(TUNA)

Monday, August 24, 2015


A new ramen shop in Honmachi! There's a real dearth of ramen shops in Honmachi, and when I saw Gyogyogyo had opened up, I assumed that it must have taken the place of delicious curry shop Rakuzan. Thankfully, I was wrong. There's more than room for one ramen shop in Honmachi, so I went to find out what Gyogyogyo was all about.

The phrase "gyo" in Japanese often means "fish" in Japanese, so Gyogyogyo specializes in fishy ramen. They offered a rich gyo-paitan and a limited time crab ramen, but I had to go with their famous Dashi Is Life shio ramen.



The Bowl
The soup was a light shio dashi, a bit salty, but easy to drink and filled with kelp undertones. The noodles were round and smooth, shiny in the yellow soup. In place of the standard pork chashu were a variety of toppings. Fish chashu, which managed to take the dashi flavors up a bit, a piece of zesty citrus chicken, and more vegetables than I could count. Baby corn, snow peas, kelp, onions, and more.


Would I Go Again?
What a unique take on shio ramen. I can't wait to go back.


Should You Go?



Friday, August 21, 2015

Menya 7.5Hz+

Menya 7.5Hz+ was one of the first shops I visited in Osaka, in the dark days where I wasn't recording my every meal for the internet to watch. It was in those times that I wasn't aware that 7.5Hz+ is one of the big Takaida-kei ramen shops, and I didn't appreciate how accessible it was sitting in Umeda. It had been too long and I was due for a visit, so in I went.


The Bowl
Takaida-kei bowls are simple, and I really appreciate it. A dark and very salty broth, offset by plentiful green onions, and thick noodles that take in the salt and come out as wheaty ropes. Add some menma, a few slices of thin chashu, but avoid a blood pressure test.


Would I Go Again?
Yeah, Takaida-kei is great and 7.5Hz+ does it justice.


Should You Go?
You should try a Takaida-kei shop once, and Menya 7.5Hz+ may just be the most convenient.



Thursday, August 13, 2015


RIP Gomihacchin, and welcome Onihei to the Nishi-ku ramen scene. Onihei takes a tori tonkotsu bowl of ramen, and offers a few different versions of it: the black, the white, and the red. They all sounded pretty good, so I went with the most popular black, a tonkotsu with ma-yu.

五味八珍がなくなったのが残念ですけど、鬼平に、西区ラーメンシーンにようこそ。鬼平がいろいろな鶏豚骨白湯を提供しています。黒、白、赤もあります。全部おいしそうでしたから、一番人気な焙煎黒まー油 黒鬼麺にしました。

The Bowl
Onihei's ramen had a thin layer of oil and soup on top, with a cloudy thicker broth hiding below. The ma-yu mixed itself into the tonkotsu, creating a garlicky but not overpowering soup. The thin noodles, too, coated themselves in ma-yu as they were pulled out of the bowl, giving them a bit more punch than other bowls. The chashu was pretty good too, split into small, hearty pieces strewn about the bowl. This was not a record-breaking tonkotsu, but a solid one with an interesting twist.


Would I Go Again?
I might go again to try one of their other menu options.


Should You Go?
Tonkotsu and ma-yu fans should check this place out.



Sunday, August 9, 2015


Japan is full of chain shops in the same way America is filled with chain burger shops. Should I try them? If you're a burger fan, should you go to Jack in the Box, at least once?

Well, a friend of mine is a big fan of mega-chain Rairaitei, so I took him off on the offer to get some ramen there. Strangely there's not one in central Osaka, so we had to do a bit of traveling to reach the shop. I ordered their standard shoyu ramen with an egg.

日本にラーメンのチェーン店が多いです。アメリカのバーガー屋さんみたいです。そんなラーメン屋さんに行くべきですか?バーガーファンがJack in the Boxに一回行ってみるべきですか?


The Bowl
Yeah...this was about what I was expecting. The lowest of the low of ramen, which to be honest, is still pretty edible. An msg-filled shoyu, filling lacking flavor with salt and heaps of fat. I can get why this is delicious to people who haven't sampled finer ramen. But I'm past that now.


I wasn't displeased with the ice cream and fried bread for dessert, though.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?



Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ramen Derby

In November, there was a strange event in the outskirts of Kyoto. The Ramen Derby: a combination celebration of horse racing and ramen at the Yodo racetrack. I had never been to a racetrack in Japan, so I was quite curious. Oh yeah, and the ramen too.


For my first shop I chose the Next Generation Miso Ramen from Men 556, a collaboration of shop owners who were all born in Showa 55, or 1980. A strange theme, but I'll bite.


Representatives from Menya Noroma, Fukuryu Ramen Wadachi, Menya Taku, Menya Gaten, Torita Seimen Shokudo, Menya Buta Kong, and Ebisumaru made this bowl possible.

麺556のメンバーは麺屋NOROMA / ふく流ラーメン轍麺や拓麺屋ガテン / 島田製麺食堂(必死のパッチ製麺所) / 麺やぶたコング / えびす丸です。

The Bowl
This really was a bowl from another generation. The miso base was good and standard enough, but it went haywire from there, in the best way. The rice krispies on top changed the texture of each bite, and the yuzu foam, not dissimilar to Wadachi's, added a citrus zest to the bowl. Put that together with the thick noodles and mound of ground pork and you have a winning meal.


My second bowl was another collaboration shop. Rasai, the organization that runs the yearly Kansai stamp rally had their own booth, where they offered up the Rasai Smile 003 Rich Pork Bone Beef Tendon Curry Soba.


This Rasai bowl was made by Shiogensui, Tsurumusha, Berashio Fukushi, Hanabusa, Omaeda, Shekarashika, Menya Hiro, Yumenchu, Yamasaki Men Jiro, Shihoda, Amaryu, and Menya Shiki.

らぁ際とは塩元帥 / 鶴武者 / べらしお福祉 / はなぶさ / 大前田 / しぇからしか / 麺屋裕 / 夢人 / 山崎麺二郎 / 四方田 / 尼龍 / 麺やしきです。

The Bowl
This was just a bowl of thick, well seasoned curry. I don't like when ramen shops make their curry too thin or too sweet, so I was happy to get some good curry with menma, corn, bunches of noodles, and smorgasbord of greens. There was just a bit of spice to it, and even though I was full from having two bowls, I couldn't help myself but finish all of it.