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!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Menso Mentama

There was a random ramen shop pretty close to work I didn't know much about. It didn't look amazing, but it was close enough that it would have merited a stop by. RIP, unknown ramen shop, but from your ashes has risen Menso Mentama, the soul of noodles. Not knowing what to expect, I went in on opening day and ordered their recommended special shoyu ramen.


The Bowl
The bowl was a gyokai shoyu ramen; similar to legendary Mitsuboshi Seimenjo, in that it was rich, but within reason. The noodles were medium and very chewy, which went well with the jelly-like egg. The chashu was thick but not great. Rather than Mitsuboshi Seimenjo, this bowl was more similar to Mensho Keiji: it did what it was trying to do fine, but not more than that.

「特製醤油らーめん」は魚介醤油でした。有名なみつ星製麺所みたいに、こってりですけどちょっと抑えられていました。麺がもちもちでクリーミーな玉子に合いました。チャーシューは厚かったですけど、ちょっと味が薄かったです。みつ星製麺所より麺匠 慶次に似ていました。うまかったですけど、三本指に入っているまでありません。

Would I Go Again?
Maybe, it's close enough.


Should You Go?
If you like gyokai shoyu then it might be worth a stop, otherwise there are plenty of good shops in the area.


麺創 麺魂

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Men Baka Ichidai

For the longest time, a friend of mine had been telling me about a shop in Kyoto where they light your ramen in fire. I had seen the videos online, but I just assumed it was too far or out of the way to make a trip worth it. However, on further inspection, it appeared that the infamous shop, Men Baka Ichidai, was not too hard to get to, and after being bugged my friend enough, we took the trip to get the fiery ramen.

We sat down and awaited our meal eagerly, like a couple of kids in line for a roller coaster. It took some time, but when it came out, it was too dangerous to take photos. You can find videos on youtube that show it in action. But how was the ramen itself?



The Bowl
The bowl was called "negi ramen", and to its name, there were plenty of "negi", or green onions in it. The broth and noodles were nothing out of the ordinary - a simple shoyu, and medium, long noodles, but the negi was stood out. Unlike the negi in most ramen, this bowl contained a ton of grilled negi, a similar taste that's available in yakitori. I guess the fire cooked them pretty good. It was a flavor I don't find often, and stood out for that.


Would I Go Again?
Flaming ramen once is enough.


Should You Go?
It's a fun gimmick once, if you're into that kind of thing.



Tuesday, May 19, 2015


In late August, a branch of tonkotsu chain Ikkosha arrived in the Eki Marche section of Osaka Station. Normally I would hesitate to wait on line for a shop like this, but I'm a sucker for opening days. After some healthy anticipation, I went inside and ordered the ramen with an egg.


The Bowl
And tonkotsu it was. It was oily, and thin, but fairly porky and filling. The medium noodles, and tough but juicy tonkotsu were serviceable as well. I wish there was more to say about this bowl, but it really matches the idea of a standard bowl of tonkotsu - perfectly edible but not a stand out.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?
It's fine, but if you're already in Umeda I would swing by Zundoya or Shiromaru Base.


博多 一幸舎

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tori Soba Zagin

Right under my nose, a new shop in Higobashi had appeared. I'm not sure how I missed it, but even looking at the photos posted online, it didn't seem like a must-visit shop. Nonetheless, Higobashi is on my way home, so I swung by Tori Soba Zagin's cozy location to get their tori soba.

何ヶ月前に肥後橋に新しい店ができましたけど気づきませんでした。なんで見かけなかったかわかりませんけど、インターネットにある写真からみてもたいした店じゃなさそうでした。とにかく、肥後橋が仕事帰りによれるので鶏soba 座銀に行って鶏sobaを注文しました。

The Bowl
The bowl itself looked like a piece of artwork. Cream colored milky soup, a floating piece of chashu, green, purple, and tan ornamental toppings all surrounded by a tangle of of dried burdock root. But how did it taste? Pretty damn good. The chicken broth was deep and creamy, with an almost alcoholic-like strong aftertaste. Look closely at the chashu and flakes on top of the bowl - they're not pork or bonito, but both chicken. Some bowls that have too much of the same ingredient cause the whole thing to be a bit same-y, but Zagin's chewy, peppery slices stood out from the much richer soup. If the soup, noodles, and chashu were the main entree, the dried burdock root provided the potatoes on the side. They were light and refreshing, and paired well with every part of the bowl. A stellar chicken bowl like this - I'm glad I finally discovered it.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?


鶏soba 座銀

Sunday, May 10, 2015


A couple years ago I swung by a shop called Hanamichi in Abiko. I ordered their shoyu ramen, which was a pretty solid bowl. Well on this night I find myself in Shin Osaka, looking for dinner. Another branch of Hanamichi happened to be close by, so I decided to find out what the miso I didn't get to try all that time ago was like.


The Bowl
The strong miso tare flavor came through in the bowl, though it clearly had a tonkotsu base. The underlying soup was porky, garlicky, and salty, all in just a little bit too high quantities. The curly noodles fit the bowl pretty well, hot from the grease but with a bit of chewiness to them. The chashu too was mixed - there were a couple of small slices that were mostly fat, but also melted in my mouth. It was a solid bowl overall, but a bit on the salty side.


Would I Go Again?
Maybe, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.


Should You Go?
It's not a bad bowl if you're in the area.



Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Ippai Ippai

Ramen collaboration Strike-ken in Tenroku was such a hit that the manager of that shop decided to try to make it on his own. The result is Matsuyamachi's very own Ippai Ippai. I had tried to go to this shop several times, but their hours written on their website didn't really match the times they were open. Finally one Saturday morning I called them up to make sure they were open, and biked over to try their shoyu paitan.


Opening congratulations from Strike-ken
The Bowl
The broth was not as thick as it looks, but that says nothing for how bursting it was with flavor. It was a milky chicken soup; powerful but still balanced. The thin, soft noodles sucked up just enough of the broth to keep the theme consistent, and the menma's strong flavors stood out through the soup. There is something magical about the balance that Ippai Ippai managed to hit: deep but just light enough to be addictive. I left wanting more.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?