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!

Friday, February 20, 2015


One lazy Sunday evening I wanted to try a new bowl, but was tired of heading in the direction of Umeda. Some looking on ramendb led me to Togyushi, a beef bone bowl by Shitennoji. Not knowing much about it I went in, and was offered my choice between a clear shoyu and a shio paitan. I ordered the paitan.


The Bowl
A swirl of milky shio ramen with a base of beef. The salty broth was a bit too oily, and didn't stand above the better use of beef in the bowl, the beef tendon topping. The tendon was sweet and tender, a succulent contrast to the soup. The ramen was served with bean sprouts and chives on the side; they made the ramen taste more generic, but I suppose I appreciate the option.


Would I Go Again?
The ramen was edible, but certainly not worth a return visit.


Should You Go?
Non-pork eaters might have something to visit here, but otherwise you can skip it.



Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ganso Shio Seseri Ramen Kesara

Out of nowhere a few months ago, one of the ever-changing ramen shops of Dotonbori turned into a new shio shop, Ganso Shio Seseri Ramen Kesara. At the same time, another branch of the shop opened up in Ebisucho. Before I had a chance to, a friend of mine paid a drunken visit to the branch by Dotonbori and decided it was the ultimate way to end the night. We took a trip to the Ebisucho shop and saw if I would drink the Kool-aid; or hot soup anyway.


The Bowl
The broth was less like shio ramen I've had before and more like a lemon-y chicken soup. It was a welcome difference, and the drinkability of the broth combined with the heartiness of the meat made it clear why this would hit home after a few pints. The noodles were curly and full of bounce, making the whole bowl simple but satisfying.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?
If you're interested in a bowl of shio that's a bit different, check Seseri out.


元祖塩せせりらぁめん けさら

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Shiromaru Base

Ippudo is a chain, and branches can be found all over Japan. However, in Umeda sits a very special branch, just above the normal shop. An experimental tonkotsu shop, Shiromaru Base is a sub-brand of Ippudo offering more kotteri soups than its standard shops. In central Umeda, I had overlooked the shop for a long time, but finally made it out to try their signature tonkotsu ramen.


The Bowl
It had been a long time since I visited Ippudo, but a sip of Shiromaru Base's broth and the memories came streaming back, only magnified. It was like someone took whatever mechanism they use to tune the ramen at Ippudo and pushed it to the max; each sip tasted like a fatty dollop of the essence of tonkotsu. The hard Hakata-style noodles, kikurage, egg, and barbecued chashu were all of the solid standard Ippudo always meets. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make it through the bowl, but the strong tonkotsu was kept just to the point where I could enjoy it through the end of the noodles. Sounds like this experiment was a success.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?
This is a must for all tonkotsu lovers.



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Menya Murata

It was a lazy Saturday and I decided to walk to famous shio shop in Imazato Kibariya. As has happened all too many times before, though, it was mysteriously closed, and I was forced come up with a new plan. I randomly had come across new shop Menya Murata, so without knowing anything about it, I went in and ordered their standard rich tonkotsu shoyu ramen.


The Bowl
The broth was rich and porky; not quite stomach-killing as a lot of tonkotsu shoyu tends to be, but instead very thick, like a sauce marinating the soba-like firm noodles. It was contrasted by the thin if fatty chashu and light egg. It was a solid bowl, but not an all-time great.


Would I Go Again?
I don't think I'll head back.


Should You Go?
If you're all about tonkotsu shoyu it's worth a stop, otherwise you can skip it.


麺屋 むら田

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ramen Kobo Ah

I was out of my element; sitting around in Takarazuka with an hour or two to kill. I was going to join some friends in an outing to central Hyogo, and arrived a bit early. Not having eaten dinner, I decided to survey the (barely existent) Takarazuka ramen scene by going to the one shop I could find on ramendb: Ramen Kobo Ah.


The Bowl
I got the "Ah" chashu ramen, a tonkotsu bowl that was thin and milky, but packing deep pork bone flavor. It was what I'd expect from a solid if not great restaurant; acceptable but not in the realm of greatness. The soup was paired with standard Hakata-style thin noodles, and some thick but chewy barbecued chashu.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?


ラーメン工房 あ

Saturday, January 31, 2015


Fushimi is an area in Kyoto known for having a wealth of sake breweries. My friend offered to show me around, and so we went from brewery to brewery trying different kinds of sake. Somewhere in the midst of our day drunkenness we needed to eat, so he took me to famous chicken izakaya Torisei. We got a couple grilled chicken dishes, but of course we needed to try the chicken ramen as well.


The Bowl
The ramen was a cloudy, flavorful chicken broth, with thin but chewy noodles. Completing the theme, in place of pork chashu were pieces of yakitori. There were kikurage mushrooms, menma, bean sprouts, and green onions as well. It was simple, but great for what it was.


Would I Go Again?
Yeah, if I was in the area.


Should You Go?
Yes, while you're in the area sake tasting.