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, 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?



Sunday, June 28, 2015

Shisen Ramen

One chain you'll find all over Osaka is Shisen Ramen. This Sichuan-style ramen joint specializes in tantanmen. I hadn't paid it much mind, except that in the past few months I've heard quite a few foreigners swear it was the best ramen in Osaka. I was hesitant to believe such a claim, but it was also an excuse for me to try a new shop. I went to the recommended Shinsaibashi branch and got the Shisen Yatai Tantanmen.


The Bowl
The tantanmen's soup was a hot orange goo; a mixture of broth and smoky rayu oil. It had a bit of kick, but it was more oily than spicy. The noodles were passable, but a bit short. The miso ground pork was a bit more interesting, allowing its flavor to seep into the noodles and broth around it. Overall this was a solid bowl, but I'm not convinced its the best ramen in Osaka. Also they gave me a lychee to eat after the ramen.


Would I Go Again?
Maybe, if I was with someone else who wanted to.


Should You Go?
Shisen is a fine place, but there are better tantanmen shops in Osaka.



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Takumi Ichiban Ramen

I feel bad about it, but there is a certain amount of enjoyment I get in seeing ramen shops close and new ones open in their place. Each shop closing is the end or at best a pause in a chef's journey, but with it comes the hopes and dreams of a new one. Such is the circle of life in many areas, and today in particular, a space in the center of Ame Mura. What was once shio shop Kuramitsu became tsukemen shop Ide, and has now become a branch of tonkotsu shop Takumi Ichiban. I entered and ordered a bowl. Third time's the charm, right?


The Bowl
Takumi Ichiban provided a thin if solid tonkotsu. Nothing hearty and epoch-making like some of the other shops in the area, but decent enough. The noodles were a bit more unique, hearty and filled with grains in a way that didn't clash with the soup. The chashu fell apart a bit in the soup, but the best topping was far and away the spicy miso. There was just a small amount in the ramen, but it added some flavor and a bit of kick.


Would I Go Again?
If I got drunk ramen more, it would be a good place to stop by. But I don't really, so I probably won't.


Should You Go?
If you're looking for drunk ramen and Zundoya is a bit too rich for you, stop at Takumi Ichiban.



Sunday, June 21, 2015


More curry ramen in Kitashinchi! A while back I discovered soup curry ramen Gahaha, and just recently it has been joined by a sibling: a new curry ramen shop by the name of Shunsaido. As any Kitashinchi establishment should be, Shunsaido is hard to find, located in an alley off a side street. I got lucky and happened to wander by as the girl who was working there was standing outside advertising. She ushered me in and I ordered the pork curry ramen.


The Bowl
Shunsaido avoided one of the issues I have with many curry ramen places - it wasn't too sweet. Many shops sweeten their curry up for soup, but Shunsaido kept its light vegetable broth curry salty, thinned down just enough to be drank. The curly noodles did their part and brought the broth to my lips, along with some entangled green onions and slices of pork. In true Japanese curry fashion, there were Chinese onions on the side as a break and palate cleanser between slurps.


Would I Go Again?
Yes, curry ramen!


Should You Go?
If you're a curry fan, check this place out.



Thursday, June 18, 2015


Kyoto is famous for two styles of ramen. One is a thin, dark shoyu style, as exemplified by Shinpuku Saikan. The other is a thicker, chicken soup, also shoyu. There are two shops that represent this style: Tenkaippin and Tentenyu. I had made a pilgrimage to Tenkaippin's flagship shop some time ago, and now I finally had a chance to go with some friends to Tentenyu.


The Bowl
As expected of the style, the ramen brought to me was a cloudy chicken paitan, trying to decide if its flavors were more chicken or umami. It managed the balance well, keeping me hooked for the entire meal. The medium noodles pulled in the rich broth, and although the chashu was plentiful, it wasn't anything above and beyond your standard shop. The whole Tentenyu package is quality - mostly because the broth manages that burden well.


Would I Go Again?
A solid representative of Kyoto ramen. I would go again.


Should You Go?



Monday, June 15, 2015

Ramen Itsuwa

Some friends of mine were visiting from America, and I was going to meet them for some post-dinner drinks in Kyoto. That meant I had to find dinner. It was late on a Tuesday night and not much was open. I did some scouring of the ramen scene while on the train, but when I arrived, all three of the places I had looked up were closed. With no time left to spare before my friends were done with their dinner, I wandered into local ramen shop Itsuwa and ordered their yaki-miso ramen.

アメリカから遊びにきた友達と京都で会うつもりでしたけど、会う前に何か食べないとだめでした。火曜日の夜で以外と空いているラーメン屋さんがあまりなかったです。いろいろ調べましたけど、空いているはずな店でも閉まっていました。時間がなくて、適当に近くにある「ラーメン いつわ」という店に入って焼き味噌を頼みました。

The Bowl
This was a hot, syrupy concoction filled with salty miso. The bouncy yellow noodles and little bits of chashu performed their parts ably but no better, and there were the standard ramen toppings of menma, onions, and cabbage mixed in for good measure. The whole thing was fine but nothing special, and ended up being a bit overloaded in salt.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?


ラーメン いつわ