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!

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Some number of months ago, Menchu appeared right near where I live. It was so close that I decided I could go any time, and thus never went. Finally on one exceptionally lazy Saturday I picked myself up and walked over. I ordered the yuzu shio ramen.


The Bowl
The bowl was placed in front of me, and I could feel the citrus steam rising to my nose. The broth itself contained the same flavors: light yuzu shio. The noodles could be eaten in thick bunches of the thin strings, with a slight tinge of yuzu. The chashu was a bit on the fatty side despite how thin it was, but its simple flavor matched the soup. This wasn't my favorite bowl, but a solid one nonetheless.


Would I Go Again?
It's so close, I might wander by again.


Should You Go?
It's not bad for yuzu fans, but otherwise there is better shio around.



Monday, July 20, 2015


I was on my way home and feeling hungry. The Ekimae buildings have always been a boon for food, so I decided to look up what was available there. Right across from the fantastic Roran sat Monjiro, the second and now only remaining tsukemen shop that I had once visited in Fukushima, shortly after my arrival in Osaka. How would their spicy tsukemen compare to the other shops I've had since then?

帰る途中におなかが空いてきました。大阪駅前ビルにはいつもおいしいレストランが入っているのでそっちに行ってみようと決めました。めっちゃうまい麺屋 楼蘭の向こう側に紋次郎がありました。大阪に引っ越ししたばかりな時代に福島本店に行きましたけど、今の感想はどうでしょうか?

The Bowl
It was a solid gyokai tonkotsu; the flavor was there but like last time, I came away thinking the soup was a bit thin. The fat noodles didn't have any problems by themself, but they weren't meant for a soup like this. There was a tinge of spice between the reddish-brown soup and the chunks of chashu.


Would I Go Again?
It was alright but by now I've had better tsukemen in Osaka.


Should You Go?
Only if you're really in the mood for gyokai tonkotsu in the Ekimae buildings.


つけ麺 紋次郎

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


In the past few months, the ramen chain Sanpomen has blown up. After first replacing Tairyuken on Dotonbori, shops have popped up in Juso, Nipponbashi, and have also replaced Takaraseimenjo in Shinsaibashi. It always looked very chainy and not very interesting to me, but I can only live in Osaka so long without trying every ramen shop on Dotonbori, so I walked over one day to see what their tsukemen had to offer.


The Bowl
This was your standard gyokai tonkotsu tsukemen. It didn't break the mold too much in either or good or bad way; it was a bit on the salty side, but I enjoyed the added touch of bonito flakes covering the soup. The noodles were thick and fat, and the broth came littered with different fat and chewy pieces of chashu. The biggest part of this tsukemen to break the mould was the wari soup, which was very porky in a way I couldn't quite put my finger on.


Would I Go Again?
It was a solid enough tsukemen, but that's not quite enough to get me to make a second trip in a ramen-saturated area like Namba.


Should You Go?
It's not bad, but you wouldn't be remiss for skipping it either.



Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mister Donut

Most days I go to ramen shops, I've done careful research and decide on a new or famous place that piques my interest. But today, a friend and I hung out at Mister Donut for a while. A little too hungry for just a donut, I ordered their limited time Mabo Tofu Noodles. Low expecations, but let's give it a try!


The Bowl
The whole thing was a bit of a saucy mess. There was a little bit of spice, but it didn't make up for the lack of flavor. The noodles were stringy and also didn't do much for my tongue. Not disgusting, but I'll stick with sweets and coffee next time.


Would I Go Again?
I will, but I'll get donuts.


Should You Go?
Not for this.



Monday, July 6, 2015


A few months ago I visited a shop in Higashi Umeda called Chiran. They offered a solid shrimp paitan; it even made me consider visiting again. Instead, I had an errand in Kyobashi, and wouldn't you know that one of the old famous shops was replaced by a Chiran. I had to try something different of course, so this time I ordered the shio ramen.


The Bowl
The golden yellow soup was one of the easier to drink, even among shio ramen in Osaka. You could taste the light chicken too - maybe this isn't a bad place to stop by when you have a cold. The noodles too matched both the light flavors and golden sunset color of the soup. A light and delicious bowl that leaves you without a food coma.


Would I Go Again?
I might, especially if there's another location.


Should You Go?
It's a solid bet in Kyobashi.


濃極 鹿児島地鶏ラーメン ちらん - CHIRAN

Friday, July 3, 2015


On this day, I mark the (very belated) passing of my favorite regularly changing ramen shop, Ramen Gekijo. In its place appeared Gorio, the manly tonkotsu ramen shop. I was sad that the Gekijo was gone, but I wasted no time in trying this new shop. I went with their advertised negi ramen. They offered "kara" (spicy) and "uma" (umami) versions; I got the spicy.


The Bowl
This was a light tonkotsu; a very thin broth and a bit oily. It was alright and a little spicy, but the flavor was masked overwhelmingly with salt. The thick noodles were solid and grabbed the onions as I slurped, but were maybe a bit too thick for the broth. The negi did their best to hold the bowl together, but the salt content and mediocre chashu sank it.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?