Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ramen Jinsei JET

For a relatively small part of the city, Fukushima has a lot of good ramen shops.  I've been to a few already, and there's still more high on my list.  After hanging out in Kitashinchi earlier, my friend and I decided to get food in Fukushima, and lucky for us, JET barely had a line when we passed by.  JET is a shop that primarily serves shoyu ramen, and is ranked pretty high on ramendb.  I'd passed it a couple times before, but never had the patience to wait.

ラーメン人生 JET
Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Fukushima-ku, Fukushima, 7丁目12−2
Ramen Jinsei JET is just north of Fukushima station on the west side.

The Bowl
JET's shoyu ramen was a fairly classic and delicious bowl.  The broth was oily and peppery, in just the right amounts.  The noodles were medium and firm, and there were thin strips of menma as well.  There was one big piece of chashu that you can see took up a good amount of the bowl.  It was fatty and chewy, but tasty.  This reminded me most of the non-black shoyu ramen available at Kinguemon, another Osaka classic.

Would I Go Again?
Yeah.  There are some other places I want to try in Fukushima first, but I would go again.

Should You Go?
Yes.  There's usually a line, but I got there pretty late and it was easy to get in.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ramen Kazu

A Sunday with decent weather means a good day for a walk.  Ramen Walker had a place listed that uses Japanese beef that's cooked in shabu shabu as a topping, which sounded pretty interesting to me.  It was in Noda, which I'd never been to before, so I was off.

I got there, and the place seemed pretty small, like your run of the mill corner ramen shop.  I went for the beef ramen with gyoza on the side.  They offer shio and shoyu, and I opted for the shio.

Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Fukushima-ku, Ōhiraki, 1丁目5−31
Ramen Kazu is just west of Noda Hanshin Station, in a narrow arcade.

The Bowl
The broth was thin, light, but peppery and pretty flavorful.  The soft noodles in particular picked up a lot of the pepper flavor as well.  The menma and onions were decent, and there was some kind of citrus topping that went pretty well too.  Of course there was the beef, which was not bad, but didn't have a lot of flavor.  I guess that's what you get from shabu shabu.  If only I had some of that sesame dipping sauce, too.

Would I Go Again?
It was OK, but it was pretty far out of the way and the beef didn't really wow me.  I won't be back.

Should You Go?
Maybe if you live close by and are curious.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tsukemen Nidaime Misawa

I had a visitor who wanted to taste great authentic ramen, so I knew I had a duty to bring him to one of the best places.  We went to one of my Osaka favorites, Misawa, the second branch of the Fukushima-based shop.

The main item at Misawa is the gyokai tonkotsu tsukemen, preferably with ume, but I've had that a few times before so I decided to be adventurous and try the limited time sardine tsukemen.  This may sound crazy to some of you, but sardines are a common ingredient in fish-based ramen, though I've never seen a bowl this heavily based on them.

Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Higashishinsaibashi, 1丁目7−23

The Bowl
The broth supposedly had chicken at its base, but that was all but completely masked with the taste of sardines.  When I was younger I wouldn't have been able to stand even the smell, but now I found the taste pretty good, if not a bit much.  The noodles were the standard, fat Misawa noodles, and were accompanied by some extremely thick menma and pretty good tender chashu.

Would I Go Again?
Misawa's one of my favorite places, so yet.

Should You Go?
Yes.  I would recommend getting the ume-gyokai tonkotsu tsukemen, though.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Menya Teru

Just after I moved to Osaka and started my job, I learned that one of my coworkers was kind of a ramen expert.  Apparently, back in his heyday he ate ramen almost every day, and knew a ton of different shops in the area.  He's since realized that he'll die early if he continues to do that, so he's cut down considerably.  Nonetheless, he's introduced me to a few good shops, some for when I traveled to random places in Japan, and some right near the office.  Menya Teru is the latter, and I first went before I started writing this blog, and decided to go there again with one of my new coworkers.

麺や 輝
Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Kita-ku, Toyosaki, 3丁目8−8
Teru is just southeast of Nakatsu Station in the small maze of alleys.

The Bowl
Teru makes gyokai tonkotsu, and I went for the ramen version.  I usually get this kind of broth in tsukemen, and the version that Teru makes for ramen is much smoother and more drinkable than standard gyokai tonkotsu tsukemen.  The noodles were medium sized and firm, there were bean sprouts, onions, an egg, menma, and of course chashu.  The pieces of chashu were decent but not super flavorful, and the egg was very creamy.  The strangest thing was that the menma tasted strongly of ginger.  Overall I was reminded a lot of Men Life Taku, except with a pork taste instead of chicken.

Would I Go Again?
I've already been there again, so yes.

Should You Go?
Yeah, it's quite good.  There's a number of branches, including one in Shinsaibashi, so you don't necessarily have to trek out to Nakatsu to eat there.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Menya Norio

One of the most convient ramen shops to me used to be this Korean-style ramen and tsukemen shop called Kankara.  I love my spicy food, so I was excited to first go there, and disappointed to find out that it was mediocre.  Then a couple months ago, Kankara never seemed to be open any more.  Just recently a sign came up advertising for a new shop, or specifically, a new branch of a chain called Norio.

Norio has a few branches around Osaka, and though I've passed a couple of them while walking around, I've never been excited enough to actually go inside.  But if there's a new shop close to me, I have to check it out at least once.  I've never been to a ramen shop when it's opened before, so I headed over to Norio on its opening day.

While small ramen shops tend to offer just one or two styles of ramen, chains like Norio offer a whole bunch of styles.  I decided to go for the tokusei ramen, which was torigara gyokai.

Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Naniwa-ku, Nanbanaka, 3丁目7−20
Norio is on the east side of Midosuji, in between Nanba and Daikokucho Stations.

The Bowl
I may be the first in line to hate on chains, but I'm also willing to admit it when a chain is decent.  Norio was pretty good.  Not as good as what I normally expect from good ramen, but certainly better than some of my other chain encounters.  The broth was very oily, but the chicken and gyokai tastes stood out.  It tasted like a more oily, less rich version of Menya Taku's bowl.  The noodles were medium and curly.  The other toppings: menma, chashu, and the egg, were all passable but nothing special.

Would I Go Again?
It's so close to me and they have a wide menu, so maybe.

Should You Go?
You don't need to.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tosai Nishiki Ramen

It was a Sunday evening, and for some reason I felt like walking to Tennoji.  There's a few places around there, and I picked one that looked pretty good (and happened to be open).

The place is tiny and there was just one other person in the shop: the old woman who ran it.  She was very kind and after chatting with her for a little bit I ordered the Nishiki Ramen.

当才 にしきらーめん
Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Abeno-ku, Abenosuji, 2丁目4−48

The Bowl
The broth was a fairly standard tonkotsu.  It was hot and oily, and had a bit of a roasty flavor to it, similar to ra-yu, though it wasn't spicy.  The noodles were very thin and soft, and in addition to menma and onions, there was some pretty good, tender chashu.

Would I Go Again?
Nishiki wasn't super special but it was pretty solid.  I'll probably go to the other shops in Tennoji first, but when I run out of those I'll come back here.

Should You Go?
If you're in Tennoji, there's a few decent places you can go.  This is one of them.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Normally my trips to get ramen take me north; be it deeper into the heart of Osaka or all the way up to Umeda.  Today I decided to go to a place a bit west, by the not-so-exciting Taisho Station on the not-so-exciting Osaka loop line.

Manten is in a small alleyway, and offers shoyu tonkotsu ramen, a combination of shoyu and tonkotsu that is the base for styles such as Wakayama-style and Tokushima-style ramen.

大正橋 まんてん
Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Taishō-ku, Sangenyanishi, 1丁目4−20
Manten is in an alleyway just west of Manten Station.

The Bowl
The broth was shoyu tonkotsu, and I couldn't really pin down which it tasted of more.  It was really rich , but you could taste the soy sauce and tonkotsu both very well.  The noodles were thin and covered with onions.  There were bean sprouts as well, and the menma, which tasted somehow different from normal, was very good.  To top it off, the chashu was thick and melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Would I Go Again?
Yeah, there's not a ton of shoyu tonkotsu places and this was really good.

Should You Go?
Yeah.  You can go on your next routine trip to Taisho Station!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


It's been a while since I've been up to Juso.  Back last summer, I went to see the Yodogawa fireworks, but  I sadly did not have time to get ramen then.  There are a few places in the area, including a couple that are open all day on Sunday, so I decided to head north of the river.

The shop of the day was Yokanise, a tsukemen shop that serves up a mean gyokai tonkotsu.  It's actually been quite a while since I had gyokai tonkotsu, so I was happy to get some.  Yokanise had a limited time curry tsukemen, and I had to work very hard to keep myself from ordering it, but I was able to pull through and order the negi tsukemen.

麺や よかにせ
Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Yodogawa-ku, Jūsōhonmachi, 2丁目8−4
Yokanise is west of Juso Station on the north side of Juso Suji.

The Bowl
Well, negi, the white onions piled on top of the noodles above, was in the name of the dish, and it delivered on that.  The fat and chewy noodles also went with some menma, and the chashu that was already in the broth.  The soup was a frothy gyokai tonkotsu that tasted a bit porkier than others I've had, and had a bit of spice to it too.  The small chashu pieces in the broth tasted a bit different from standard chashu, but were very flavorful.  On the side was this special fruit vinegar with onions in it.  It was sweet and sour and really cut into the spice and richness of the soup.  I preferred the original taste of the soup when dipping the noodles, but the onions went well with the wari-soup.

Would I Go Again?
Yeah, this place was quite good.  I'm still interested in that curry tsukemen, too...

Should You Go?
There are plenty of good gyokai tonkotsu shops closer to central Osaka, but Juso's not that far, and Yokanise is good.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I didn't have a lot of time but needed some lunch.  I noticed Ramen Walker listed a place I had passed before a bit to the west.  I don't usually head in that direction, so although Fujii wasn't far, it gave me a chance to go see a random station on the loop line.

中華そば ふじい
Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Naniwa-ku, Shiokusa, 3丁目9−19
Fujii is just outside Ashiharabashi Station on the north side.

The Bowl
Before I had tried all these nouveaux and deep bowls, this is the kind of bowl that came to mind when I thought of shoyu ramen.  Fujii's broth was thin and salty, but just the right amount - I never felt like I couldn't drink any more of the soup until just about when I finished it.  The onions added some flavor as well, and they stuck well to the thin, long noodles.  Other toppings in the bowl were chashu and menma, both of which were decent but neither of which stood out.

Would I Go Again?
This place was pretty cheap, and unlike a lot of ramen places, left me feeling just the right amount of full and refreshed afterwards.  It's been a while, but I think I preferred this place to shoyu shop of note Kadoya Shokudo.

Should You Go?
It's pretty good, but it's annoyingly out of the way.  I've heard a lot of foreigners live in Bentencho, so if you are one of them, take a walk and check out Fujii.