Thursday, January 1, 2015



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!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Osaka Bakufu

I am always on a quest to find new and inventive ramen shops, but sometimes I need to stop and visit the shops that are right in front of my nose. Osaka Bakufu has been around as long as I've been in Osaka, and with it's central location in Shinsaibashi, it's a wonder I hadn't been there before. At any rate, I was meeting some friends in Shinsaibashi, and I so I decided that it would be the night I would try Bakufu. I chose the recommended black tonkotsu shoyu.


The Bowl
The broth was smooth and milky; it had been a long time since I tasted this kind of a tonkotsu broth. The creamy soup was dotted with speckles of ma-yu, a black garlicky oil, so the flavor was a mix of rich tonkotsu and garlic. The medium noodles were coated in the slippery oil, making them easy to slurp, and the flavor carried on to the one big slice of chashu. It wasn't the best tonkotsu I've had, but it was solid enough, and the friends I went to meet regretted me having filled my mouth with garlic.


Would I Go Again?
It was solid but nothing special, so I won't be back.


Should You Go?
For ma-yu lovers it might be good, otherwise there are better places in the area.


心斎橋 大阪麦風らーめん

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


A walk around Denden Town at night and I found new abura soba shop Kirinji by the people behind classic Suzume. Abura soba is a pretty rare form of ramen in these parts, so I'm always happy to see a new shop. Kirinji had a simple menu, so I went with the recommended half-boiled egg abura soba.


The Bowl
The noodles filling the bowl were medium-thick and chewy, and the whole mix had a light oil and seaweed flavor. As with many abura soba bowls, the simple flavor asks for toppings to be added. The vinegar wasn't too sour, which was a good change of pace from some places that can have the bowl pushed a bit too far in that direction, but the spicy miso is what really shone. It added a kick to the otherwise slightly-too-bland combination of toppings, vinegar, and ra-yu.


Would I Go Again?
There was nothing particularly special, so I won't be back.


Should You Go?
Unless you're hankering abura soba you can safely skip this one.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014


I had some unusual post-lunch weekend plans in Umeda, but not a lot of time. Luckily, as it has in the past, the Osaka Ekimae buildings were there to help me. A tomato ramen shop I hadn't had a chance to visit in building 3 closed recently, but in its place sprouted Yu, a shrimp ramen shop. Shrimp was assumed, the choice was between shio, shoyu, and miso. On most days I would have gone miso without a thought, but I didn't want too heavy of a meal so opted for the shio.


The Bowl
The soup was centered around its simple shio broth, filled with shrimpy flavor. A broth like this might not be anything notable at another shop, but the shrimp mixed in seeped into the rough yellow noodles, and the toppings alike. The noodles were good like that, but unfortunately the egg was a bit overcooked, and the thin slices of chicken chashu were lackluster. It was a solid effort, but didn't hit the highs of other shrimpy bowls I've had.


Would I Go Again?
Probably not.


Should You Go?
If you like shrimp, this is a place worth stopping by.


なにわ海老らーめん 祐

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Naniwa Seimen Homare Shoten

Recently, one of my friends moved near Bishoen Station, southeast of Tennoji. Normally I would have no reason to go over there, but a tsukemen shop from Juso made the move too, and now I had two reasons to visit. Just a couple days after opening, Naniwa Seimen Homare Shoten offered their signature tsuke soba at a discounted 500 yen.


The Bowl
A sweet and salty gyokai tonkotsu tsukemen, with medium, slippery noodles left me satisfied though not impressed, but Naniwa Seimen's unique feature is the zosui that follows. After finishing the noodles, my friend and I received a hot stone and a bowl of rice to mix together with the remaining soup. Just in case there was a chance you were still hungry, this congee-like rice porridge will fill you up. The combination brought back memories of Cho Tonkotsu Nodo 8 and Fujiyama 55 (may it rest in piece), which is a good thing.


Would I Go Again?
Probably not, it's far.


Should You Go?
If you're in the area, it's a good shop to have.


なにわ製麺 誉商店

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Koboruto Basic

Nothing says time has past like a new shop at the seasonally changing Ramen Gekijo. This time the shop was Koboruto Basic, a shop whose theme was having standard styles of different kinds of ramen. They offered a chuka soba, a tonkotsu, a gyokai tonkotsu tsukemen, and a special clam shio. They recommended the tonkotsu, so I went with that.


The Bowl
And basic it was: a thin, foamy tonkotsu; not light by any means but not too rich either. The noodles were thin and chewy, and the chashu too was standard. Only the egg stood out as being extra creamy.


Would I Go Again?
I will when it changes shops; I don't feel the need to try Koboruto again.


Should You Go?
This was solid, standard tonkotsu, but I can't advise it when there's other very good tonkotsu nearby.



Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Over my time in Osaka, I've been able to go to most of the shops that I've wanted to. One that has evaded my reach is the legendary miso shop Mitsukabozu. Partially because of the dearth of miso in Kansai, Mitsukabozu's name reaches far in the prefecture. I had a chance to go to their Umeda branch as soon as that opened, but now, as a stopover on the way to a soccer game in Banpaku Park, I was finally able to visit the flagship shop in Toyonaka.

With white miso, red miso, and spicy miso soups, it was difficult for me to decide what to order. I wanted to get mini bowls of all of them, or better yet, to come back multiple times and try them all. After consulting with the waitress, she advised I go with the KANSAI, an assari fish ramen without any meat. It's not what I would have gone with on my own, but who am I to question the masters?



Minoh beer is the sign of a good shop
The Bowl
Normally I'm a fan of rich miso, but as Shiogensui showed me with shio ramen, Mitsukabozu proved to me how powerful a light miso can be. In many ways it tasted like a light seafood miso soup, but the underlying miso flavors were much more like the miso tare found in ramen, as opposed to the style used in miso soup. The soft and delicate noodles matched the soup, pulling up the subtle flavors in just the right dose. The thick, chewy menma provided contrast to the bowl as a strong palette cleanser, while the chashu fit the theme of the bowl, being thin and balanced in flavor. If there was one thing I didn't like about the bowl, it was that there was a bit too much of the chives. They were good in small doses, but towards the end of the bowl their garlicky flavor overwhelmed the rest of the soup.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?


味噌らーめん みつか坊主