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!

Sunday, October 4, 2015


After my trips to Vancouver and New York, it was back to Japan for a while. My flight required me to stop over in Tokyo for a few hours, though, so I made the most of it by swinging by Tokyo Ramen Street.

Tokyo Ramen Street has switched up its stores a few times since I lived in Tokyo. New to the street is Tonari, a shop specializing in tanmen, a vegetable-filled style of shio ramen. I had never actually had tanmen before, so I was pretty excited to give the style a try.



Lots of vegetables in tanmen

The Bowl
The broth was a simple shio, very light and peppery. It was easy to drink, but was just a base for the smattering of toppings. Thick curly noodles, sprouts, carrots, chives, corn, and cabbage covered the bowl. Light and tasty, and probably the most healthy bowl of ramen I've ever had.


Would I Go Again?
It was tasty, but I still have other shops in Tokyo Ramen Street to visit.


Should You Go?
Anyone who hasn't had a bowl of tanmen should try one, and Tonari is a good place to try it.


東京タンメン トナリ

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


After my jaunt to Vancouver, I was back to my home of New York. Once again, there was so much food to eat, getting ramen was hardly necessary. But, I was with some friends who wanted it, and who was I to say no?

Ganso in Brooklyn offered a variety of ramen: classic shoyu and miso to crazier short rib and shrimp ramen. I went with the limited time duck ramen.



 In America, people treat ramen like it's proper restaurant food. Which means they take their time. It took us almost an hour just to get seated.


Ganso's chicken wings, made with special Ganso Sauce

Crispy gyoza, filled with chives

The Bowl
What an umami broth. It was a bit salty, but other than that the dark, garlic oil covered broth was roasty and delicious. The thin noodles matched well, as they captured just enough of the garlic to bring the taste home.

That was the just the beginning, though, as Ganso's bowl was covered in toppings. Of course the duck was there, laid out in tantalizing strips covered in sauce. It had a good bite and just a bit of chew. Almost even more exciting were the fried lotus chips, cutting against the soup and meat. And the final piece of umami were the earthy shiitake mushrooms. This was a strange and meaty bowl, the likes of which you would never see in Japan. I suppose that's how they do ramen in New York.



Would I Go Again?
I wouldn't go above trying another place, but I'm definitely curious about their other bowls.


Should You Go?
Yes, if you live in New York.


Ganso Ramen

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Field trip! This year during my annual trip to New York for New Year's, I decided to stop at a new place: Vancouver, Canada. I had never been to Vancouver before, so I was excited to see Canada's chillest city, and eat lots of Chinese food and poutine. I was conflicted about spending one of my valuable meals on ramen, but I threw caution to the wind and had my friend bring me to one of the more notable ramen shops in the area, G-Men in Richmond.

G-Men didn't have a discernible standard, but after talking to them, I decided on the tantanmen. After all, as they say in G-Men, "Once tan tan, forever tan tan."


G-Menの定番はないみたいですけど、店員と相談してから担々麺にしました。やっぱり、G-Menで言う「Once tan tan, forever tan tan」に従わなあかん。

The Taiyo no To!

Appetizer karaage

The Bowl
This was a weird bowl of tantanmen. In Japan, I would expect tantanmen to be a bit oily, but otherwise have the same consistency as most other ramen. G-Men's bowl was more like a syrupy sesame paste, mixed together with curly noodles, sprouts, and very flavorful bits of pork. It was different, but it was good. I enjoy sesame, so even if it's a bit weird, I'm not complaining.


Would I Go Again?
If I lived in Vancouver I would; I don't think I'll make it all the way to Richmond again, though.


Should You Go?
Check it out if you live in Vancouver.



Wednesday, September 16, 2015


For the second time, I planned to go to shio shop Kibariya. I was in Imazato with a friend heading to a bar, and we decided to stop by the shop. For the second time, it was closed. But this time, luckily, it had been replaced by a new shop: Ichimensei.

Ichimensei offered a pretty delicious looking tsukemen, but I had to go with their wilder Ago Soba, or Flying Fish Ramen.



The Bowl
The bowl at its heart was a bowl of shoyu ramen; completely immersed in flying fish flavors, but balanced overall. The noodles were flat but thick, smooth and solid. The pork was tough but hearty, like a miniature pork steak on the side.


Would I Go Again?
Yeah, this place was pretty good.


Should You Go?
If you're ever in Imazato, you should stop by.



Saturday, September 12, 2015


The ramen selection in Minamigata keeps expanding. The shop of the day is Uroko, which means "scale", a shop that specializes in shio ramen.


Congratulations flowers from Menya Taku, Menya Marusho, and Jinrui Mina Menrui, among others

The Bowl
Uroko brought to the table a very mild shio, easy to drink, though covered in chunks of pork fat. The uneven noodles looked handcut, and they were the star of the dish, providing a different texture with each bite. Sitting above the fat and salt were bonito flakes, which gave the ramen tuna flavors on top of the shio.


Would I Go Again?
It was a pretty good shio, but I have other places in Nishinakajima I would visit first.


Should You Go?
It's not a bad choice if you're in Nishinakajima.



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Senba Tantanmen

Some shops in Osaka have downright unreasonable hours. Highly ranked Yashichi is only open on weekdays for lunch, but happens to conveniently be by my office. Berashio down south is just open from 11 to 1 on weekdays. Add to the list Senba Tantanmen. It's a tantanmen shop in the heart of Horie, open only for lunch while I'm working. I happened to have a random half day off, so with no other plans, I headed for Horie and ordered their Sichuan style rich tantanmen.


The Bowl
A bowl of red; a layer of transparent oil on top, but too murky to see inside. The soup was spicy and chunky, and I swear a sensed a tomato flavor to it, or maybe it just reminded me of tomato ramen. Floating amidst the soup were yellow translucent noodles, chewy and mixed in with the ground pork and bean sprouts. The oil wore me down a bit by the end, but the rice on the side did a lot to keep it at bay, at least until I was finished my meal and ready to lie down.


Would I Go Again?
I would, if it were feasible.


Should You Go?
This tantanmen is worth a lunch break, if you can make it.