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!

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Just a few months after Baka Yaro opened in Nakazakicho, it was time for the owner to open a second shop just around the corner. Unlike the sludgy tonkotsu Baka Yaro produced, though, Bakabo focuses on chicken shoyu ramen. I stopped in for lunch to grab a bowl.


The Bowl
The broth was a sharp but solid shoyu, filled with bunches of square, firm noodles. Interestingly, there was a smattering of different meats topping the otherwise simple bowl. The chashu was an expected dose of pork, but the slice of chicken, and the understated slab of terrine shined as they mixed with the robust soy sauce flavor.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?



Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ramen Sengoku Day 2

I wasn't initially planning on going to Ramen Sengoku twice, but when there are ten shops showing off their specialties, who am I to say no? The day previous I went by myself, but today I took a stop by with Philoramen.


First up today was Zundoya. I've always been a fan of Zundoya's dedication to Hakata-style tonkotsu, but I'm happy to see they tried something different for this event. They presented the soy milk tantanmen RED.


The Bowl
This was a bowl full of bright red, sesame-doused, oily soup. It was spicy with a nice covering of spring onions, and every bite of curly noodles came with a bagel's worth of sesame seeds. It was good on a cold day, and I would order it if they had it at their main shop.


Next on the docket was Mutahiro, a Tokyo ramen shop that just made its debut in Fukushima in Osaka. At time of writing I have only just barely visited the Osaka branch. At Ramen Sengoku their specialty was Tanmen, a vegetable-laden shio style.


The Bowl
After the heavy tantanmen, it was nice to have a simple bowl. It was a light shio, with a pound of vegetables in it. It was like eating a peppery vegetable stir fry cooked in a light broth. Add to that thick curly noodles from Tokyo star Nagi, and a piece of roasted chicken and you have the right way to cap off a ramen event.



Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Even though I had eaten ramen for lunch, at night I found myself with a group of friends looking for a late night ramen fix. That's every excuse for me to try a new shop, so I led our group to late night tonkotsu shop Ichifuku in Namba.


The Bowl
Ichifuku offered an oily by-the-numbers bowl of pork bone broth. It was thin and fatty, and the noodles were thin and hard, as you'd expect. The chashu was alright, and the whole place screamed "acceptable". It was the right amount of grease to eat after drinking, but there are better places to stop during the day.


Would I Go Again?
Nah, there's plenty better tonkotsu shops in Namba.


Should You Go?



Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ramen Sengoku Day 1

Another ramen festival! These are getting more frequent in Kansai, and as long as they keep having them, I'll keep going. This time is the Ramen Sengoku in Nishi-Umeda, manned by a variety of Kansai ramen shops, and a couple out-of-towners. I didn't expect I could hit this event more than the Dotonbori Ramen Festa, but once was not quite enough.

For my first stop, as tends to be the case at these things, I had an miso from Osaka shop Gachinko Ramen Do Hiragi.


最初やっぱり味噌にしました。大阪の「がちんこらーめん道 柊」の濃厚大阪味噌らーめんを頼みました。

The Bowl
This was a sweet and milky, smooth miso. There was a healthy dose of pepper and cooked onions on top of the flanks of menma and cabbage. The noodles were miso-style yellow and curly, and a great mass of fatty bacon-style chashu was shipwrecked on one side of the bowl. A solid hearty bowl to make sure I'll be hurting after my second.


Bowl number two was to be found at chain shop Norio. I've had their chicken ramen once upon a time, but I was much more intrigued at their curry ramen made with Awaji Island onions.


The Bowl
This was an oily curry, with a bit of spice to it. There was an egg placed right on top, which helped the noodles meld together and drag the curry with it. The chashu was a bit dry, but the fried potato bits on the side became a nice mixer and helped the bowl stand out.



Thursday, January 28, 2016


Osaka truly is the land of late night ramen shops. All across Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori are a plethora of shops that open no earlier than 7PM, and stay open at least as long as the Dotonbori Starbcuks. One drunken night I happened to stumble across a new one: Hamaguri Ramen Kaizoku. Kaizoku is a seafood restaurant in Namba that decided to open a ramen shop with a single menu: clam ramen. I stumbled in, ordered it, and was given a bonus side of shellfish rice.


The Bowl
Kaizoku offered a light and salty broth, with a hearty dose of clam. This is one of the fishiest bowls I've had, and it didn't go great with the amount I had to drink. A squeeze of lemon made it a bit more bearable at that point in the night. The noodles were thin and light, and pretty easy to down. The ramen had a few clams in it as well, though I felt the rice bowl matched its toppings better. The whole thing wasn't bad per se, I just can't handle that much seafood after drinking.


Would I Go Again?
Nah; I stick to something lighter when it's almost morning.


Should You Go?
If you've got the drunken munchies and love seafood this is your place.



Monday, January 25, 2016

Ginjo Ramen Kubota

Kyoto for me is an untapped paradise of ramen. It's not that there's so many more shops than in Osaka, it's just that I don't go often enough to appreciate them. One night I had plans in Kyoto and did some investigating for a shop to visit when I discovered Ginjo Ramen Kubota. Kubota is a miso tsukemen shop, a double rarity in Kansai. With my love for miso and tsukemen, how could I go wrong?


The Bowl
The soup was rich if a bit oily, a strong miso with a slight note of sweetness. There was just a tinge of spiciness; the right amount to keep it interesting. The noodles were very thick, but they slurped up the miso briskly. The chashu was a bit greasy on its own, but worked well covered in miso. The only minor flaw was at the end the soup-wari was a bit grainy from all of the miso remnants at the end.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?


吟醸らーめん 久保田