Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcome!
ようこそ!

日本語は英語のあと!

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!

このテキストをまだ読んでいたら、下記にあるリンクを叩いてみてください:

ラーメン地図:今までに全国の食べたことあるラーメン屋さん
The Beginning:大阪のデビュー
自己紹介:自己PR
ラーメン用語辞典:英語の辞書みたいな感じなので、英語の勉強になるかもしれません

Friends in Ramenを楽しみましょう!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Shi43ya

Despite the fact that I had a filling bowl of tsukemen earlier in the day, I found myself in Osaka at night and hungry. It was pretty late, and although usually I would prefer takoyaki at times like this, there was a new hot late night ramen shop I wanted to try.

Shi43ya (pronounced Shijimiya) is named after shijimi, a shellfish featured in their main shijimi shio ramen.  It's hidden in an alley by a bunch of bars, so it's hard to notice. I was tempted to go for the shijimi miso ramen, but for my first time I had to stick with the classic shio.

その日に前こってりのつけ麺を食べたのに結局夜に大阪にいておなかすいていました。夜遅かったので普通はラーメンよりたこ焼きを食べたくなりますけど、新しい深夜ラーメン屋さんに行ってみたかったです。

Shi43屋(シジミ屋という意味)は結構穴場って感じでいろいろなバーと隠れている横町にありました。シジミ味噌ラーメンを食べたかったですけど初めて行ったのでおすすめのしじみ塩ラーメンにしました。

The Bowl
This was shio ramen at its simplest, yet with the unusual twist of a bunch of clams thrown into the mix. The broth itself very light, salty, and clear; kind of like a thin clam soup, as opposed to some of the richer shios I've had before. I would generally prefer something a bit deeper, but for late night post (or mid) drinking, the simple soup, chewy noodles, and clams are a refreshing way to hopefully keep that hangover away.

こんなラーメンはすごいシンプル塩系です。透明なスープはめっちゃあっさりで薄めのしじみスープの感じがしました。普通はもっと濃い塩が好きですけど、飲んでからのラーメンにとって、これは最高でした。もちもちな麺といっぱいのしじみを食べると二日酔いがないといいですね。

Would I Go Again?
Yeah maybe, if the conditions were just right.

また深夜にそんなラーメンを食べたければまた行きます。

Should You Go?
If you like late night shio, this place is for you.

しめ塩ラーメンが好きなら行った方がいいです。

Information
Shi43屋

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tsukemen Man

As a continuation of cherry blossom season, I took an all-too-rare visit to Kyoto to go to another hanami event. With an opportunity like that, though, I decided I needed to stop and get a bowl of ramen on my way there. Nearby Demachiyanagi there's not a ton of shops; but there is one I've had my eye on: Tsukemen Man. They embraced their name and offered up a specially made rich gyokai tonkotsu tsukemen.

まだ桜の季節なので花見のイベントのために京都に行きました。せっかく京都に行くならそこら辺のラーメン屋さんで食べてみたいと思いました。出町柳に店があまりありませんけど、一つ気になる店がありました。「つけ麺マン」に入って特製濃厚つけ麺を頼みました。

The Bowl
The broth was a mostly by-the-numbers thick gyokai mix; though it was a bit too rich and salty. The noodles made up for that as they were thick and shiny, easy to pick up yet resilient enough to take in a lot of soup and add a light egg flavor of their own. The chashu was good, though like the soup too, a bit salty, and over time it became harder to finish the bowl.

スープは普通の魚介豚骨ですけど結構かかったです。でも麺が太くて食べやすくてちょっと玉子の味がしたのでうまかったです。チャーシューもおいしかったですけど、濃かったです。全部濃すぎて最後の割スープでも飲みきれませんでした。

Would I Go Again?
I'll try another place in Kyoto next time I'm there.

次回京都に行ったら別の店に行きます。

Should You Go?
If you want some tuskemen in Demachiyanagi, otherwise go somewhere else.

出町柳でつけ麺食べたければ行ったらいいです。

Information
つけ麺マン

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Mensho Keiji

Spring is the time for cherry blossoms. Everyone in Japan loosens up, grabs some beer or umeshu at a convenience store, and brings it to the park to sit under the trees and relax. The only thing more enjoyable than this, is making sure you have a full stomach to take it all in. With that in mind my friend and I headed to Menya Keiji, a shop by Osaka Business Park, not far from Osaka Castle.

Menya Keiji had a variety of tonkotsu and gyokai tonkotsu bowls; they ranked them by their popularity among guys and girls. The gyokai tonkotsu ramen looked the most interesting to me, so I ordered that one, which was the #1 ramen picked by girls.

春は桜の季節です。日本のみんなは休みを取って、ビールか梅酒をコンビニで買って公園に行って木の下で飲みながらのんびりします。そうするならその前に食べないと危ないので友達と一緒に大阪ビジネスパークにある「麺屋慶次」に行ってみました。

いろいろな豚骨と魚介豚骨のラーメンがあって、男と女の人気さでソートされていました。わたしは女の一番人気の魚介豚骨ラーメンにしました。

The complimentary appetizer
お通し
The Bowl
The broth started out as a good mix of deep tonkotsu flavors and a balancing gyokai soup. It was a good combination that's seen much more often in tsukemen, so I was happy to have this in ramen, even if the thick, wavy noodles would have been more suited to a thick tsukemen broth. The main issue creating a ceiling for this ramen, though, was the salt content. What started out as a tinge of salt underneath the double soup slowly crept up and by the end prevented me from drinking any more of the broth. I'm glad I was on my way to get some drinks afterwards, because it was tough to wash my mouth out of all that sodium.

スープは一口でこってり豚骨と魚介のだぶるスープの味がしました。よくできているコンビで普通はつけ麺にあるのでこんな味のラーメンがあるとよかったです。太縮れ麺もよかったですけど、やっぱりラーメンよりつけ麺に合います。一番気になるのが塩分でした。最初にちょびっと塩の味がしましたけど、最後にほとんど塩しか味しませんでした。

Would I Go Again?
I don't plan on it.

また行かないと思います。

Should You Go?
It's alright, and it's one of the only shops in the area, so it's passable if you're at Osaka Business Park.

大阪ビジネスパークにそんなにラーメン屋さんはないのでそこにいるといいかもしれません。

Information
麺匠 慶次

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ippondo

Kitashinchi is an interesting area of Osaka. Like Fukushima and Tenma, it's right next to Umeda, but has a lot more character. Kitashinchi is full of bars, some cheap, and many expensive. And though it's not known for ramen, it's Japan, so there will always be some. On this night I visited with my friend, and we wandered into random tonkotsu shoyu shop Ippondo.

北新地は面白い場所です。福島天満みたいに梅での近くにありますけど、梅田より性格があります。北新地はバーだらけで安いのもありますけどほとんど高いイメージがします。ラーメンで有名じゃありませんけど、日本あので絶対何軒かあります。ある日に友達と一緒にうろうろと歩いて豚骨醤油の「一本道」に入りました。

The Bowl
The oily broth was a sea of solidified pork fat. It had a salty, garlicky edge, but overall it was weak and nothing better than I'd expect from a random mediocre shop. The medium noodles were a bit different from what you'd sometimes see with this kind of a soup, but they were overcooked. The toppings saved the bowl. The marinated chashu tasted deep of the soy sauce it was left to soak in, and the viscously creamy yolked egg was delicious.

スープが固まっている背脂だらけでした。ちょっとニンニクが入っていてちょっと普通の店の味がしました。麺はこんなスープに普通ある麺と違いましたけど柔らかかったです。一番おいしかったのはトッピングでした。醤油で煮込んだチャーシューもとろみがあるクリーミーな味玉が結構うまかったです。

Would I Go Again?
Nah, aside from the toppings nothing stood out in this place.

トッピングがおいしかったですけどまた行かないと思います。

Should You Go?
You can skip this one.

梅田のほかの店の方がいいかもしれません。

Information
麺匠 一本道

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sodaisho

Time for another famous Osaka institution. Sodaisho, which is actually a sister shop to beloved Shiogensui, is a salty shoyu shop near Tenjinbashi Rokuchome. I visited there once shortly after arriving in Osaka, but I had not yet started writing this blog, so I didn't have an opportunity to take notes and post about it.

My last memories of Sodaisho was that it was absurdly salty, in such a way that it washed out the other weaker flavors. Curious to see what my now more refined palette feels about it now, I visited one more time and ordered the koikuchi shoyu ramen.

また大阪の有名な店に行ってきました。大好きな「塩元帥」の姉妹店「総大醤」は天神橋六丁目の近くにある濃いめ醤油の店です。大阪についてから一回行きましたけど、その頃このブログを書いていませんでした。

前総大醤に行った時、「ヤバい!辛いな!」という思い出が出ましたけど、口が肥えてきたわたしはもう一回ちゃんと味見したくなってきたので店に行きました。

The Bowl
A taste of the shoyu broth reminded me of my first experience years ago; it was a hot and thin broth, but brimming with salty, garlic, onion, and oil. It didn't have the deep flavors of a black Takaida-kei shoyu ramen, but was more like a bowl that took the salty, garlicky tinge of a clear shoyu bowl to its extreme. The noodles and chashu matched as well; not very different from what you'd see in a run-of-the-mill shoyu, but covered in sodium and oil. The one element that helped bring the bowl back down were these bits of yuzu floating in the mess. I wish they had used more, but then again, that's not what the koikuchi shoyu ramen is about.

一回味見したら前の体験の思いが浮かびました。スープがあっさりで塩、ニンニク、オニオン、油がいっぱい入っていました。ブッラクな高井田系ラーメンみたいに深くなくて逆に透明な醤油の一番濃いバージョンの感じがしました。さすが「こくくち」ですね。中太麺もチャーシューは透明な醤油っぽかったですけど、塩辛かったです。ゆずの味もちょっと入っていて、それが良かったですけど、それをあまりにも入れすぎたら別のラーメンになるかもしれません。

Would I Go Again?
I think I'm good on this one.

二回行ったので、また行かないと思います。

Should You Go?
For clear shoyu fans who don't mind a night of high blood pressure, this is a good one.

めっちゃ透明な醤油の高血圧のファンにいいかもしれません。

Information
総大醤

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mitsubosi Seimenjo

One of the oft-talked about ramen shops in Osaka is Mitsuboshi Seimenjo, a rare gyokai shoyu ramen in Fukushima. I visited there a while ago and realized that the shop lived up to the hype; it had a rich creaminess that you don't see often in tsukemen, let alone ramen. Since then, they have opened a second shop in Nishinakajima, and just recently a tsukemen shop in Awaza. I needed to see how their tsukemen compared to the ramen, so I checked it out.

よく話題になる大阪にあるラーメン屋さんはレア魚介醤油を提供している「みつ星製麺所」です。この前そこに行って、みんなが言っている通りおいしいと認めました。その時以来西中島に二号店ができて最近阿波座につけ麺専門店ができました。すごいおいしいラーメンに比べたらつけ麺はどうかなと思いながら阿波座の方に行ってみました。

The Bowl
The soup was written to have been cooked with pork, vegetables, and chicken, and the tare was made with scallops and fish. I couldn't pick apart each of these ingredients individually when tasting the soup, but the thick, gyokai flavors mixed together in a heavenly way. There was a choice of medium-thick and super-thick noodles, and the super-thick I went for were square and firm, holding their form after several dips. The toppings stood tall as well, a very creamy egg, thick, and juicy kakuni, and the unusual addition of a lemon that added a refreshing sourness to the concoction.

スープに豚、野菜、鶏肉が入っていてタレに魚と貝柱が入っていると書いてありました。個別に材料の味が出たわけじゃありませんでしたけど、混じったうまいこってり魚介系味がしました。中太麺か極太麺があって、やっぱり極太麺にして四角くてなんかいかつけても固くておいしかったです。クリーミーな味玉と濃い角煮もよくて、びっくりしたのはレモンでした。麺にしぼったら、以外と変わっているさっぱり味がしました。

Would I Go Again?
The tsukemen was good, but not as mindblowing as the ramen. I might check it out again.

つけ麺がおいしかったですけど、ラーメンより特別と思いませんでした。また行くかもしれません。

Should You Go?
If you're in the area, it's definitely a solid shop, but I would check out the ramen shop in Fukushima first.

阿波座にいれば、行ったらいいと思いますけど、どっちか選ばないとだめなら、福島の本店に行った方がいいです

Information
みつ星製麺所