Saturday, April 29, 2017


Normally I focus this blog on individual reviews on ramen shops, and not on what I'm doing. Recently, though, I visited Thailand, and while I didn't have ramen, I did try a variety of noodle dishes. This will be a primarily picture post, so enjoy, get hungry, and go visit.


Pad Thai

Tom yum

Grand Palace

Som tam with crab and anchovies

Coconut ice cream

Khao soi at

Khao soi at Kow Soi Siricha

Doi Suthep

Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan

Stir-fried noodles with chicken

Khao soi

Wararos Market

Wat Saen Suk

Final airport khao soi

Monday, April 24, 2017

Chuka Soba Niboshiya

A while back I had a friend living out in Minami Tatsumi, a place only known for being one end of the Sennichimae subway line. I have no other reason and therefore chance to go there, so on a visit to my friend, we swung by a shop featured in Ramen Walker: Chuka Soba Niboshiya. Despite being called "niboshiya", meaning "sardine shop", Ramen Walker recommended the spicy curry soba.

この前、南巽に友達が住んでいました。南巽は千日前線の終点じゃなければ、誰も聞いたことがないので、行く機会が全くありません。友達に遊びに行くがてらラーメンウォーカーに乗っていた「中華そば 煮干しや」に行ってみました。煮干しが店名に入っていますけど、ラーメンウォーカーに載っていたのがスパイしカレーそばでしたからそれにしました。

The Bowl
This was a wonderful smorgasbord of vegetables in a robust curry soup. There was just a bit of spice in the broth that was delicately balanced to be thick but drinkable. The medium noodles were good but let slightly too much of the soup roll off. The toppings added texture to the bowl. Baby corn and peppers had a delightful crunch, and the juicy squares of stewed pork had a nice bit of chew.


Would I Go Again?
If I'm ever on that end of the Sennichimae line, I'll stop by again.


Should You Go?
If you're living close by, it's definitely worth a stop.


中華そば 煮干しや

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ganso Aka Noren Secchan

I came to Kyushu for the Saga international hot air balloon festival, but I stayed in Fukuoka. And I wasn't leaving Fukuoka without some good ramen. I did some research on the best shop in Tenjin I could find, and the first that came up with famous Ganso Aka Noren Secchan Ramen. I'm not sure why I hadn't been here before, but after a long trip through Saga I was ready for a full set, complete with fried rice and gyoza.


The Bowl
There's something different about the tonkotsu in Fukuoka from the ones I've had in Osaka and Tokyo. Oh, there are some good ones on Honshu, but they seem to know just how to balance the ingredients in Hakata. The soup with thin, but flavorful; there was a bit of oil, but it wasn't drenched in it. It was light, begging me to keep eating without ever getting full. With a soup as fresh and drinkable as this, it's no surprise that Hakata ramen always have bunches of thin noodles. The chashu was nothing special, but that's not the main attraction here. The gyoza and fried rice too were solid if par for the course; a bit garlickly and cinnamony, respectively.


Would I Go Again?


Should You Go?


That bowl left me so refreshed that I was happy to eat a cup of gelato at Samurai Gelato afterwards.


元祖赤のれん 節ちゃんラーメン

Monday, April 17, 2017

Saga International Balloon Festival (Taromen)

Every year in the beginning of November, there is an international hot air balloon festival held in Saga prefecture in Kyushu. A friend had been telling me about it for a while, and in the end of 2015, he convinced me to go.


No Japanese festival experience is complete without a stop at some of the various food stands. Saga is not as famous as nearby prefectures Nagasaki and Fukuoka for their ramen, but one stand called Taromen offered a unique noodle dish of its own. They claimed it's different from ramen, udon, and other dishes, so I had to give it a try.


The Bowl
The broth was simple and cloudy, tasting like a tanmen-style shio ramen. The pieces of ginger that accessorized it caused it to pick up some of those flavors, too. The thick yet soft noodles, too, were filled with the ginger flavor that had spread throughout the dish. In another similarity to tanmen, the bowl was filled with vegetables, by which I mean cabbage and bean sprouts. A single, unusally shelled shrimp, sat atop the whole thing, presumably to confuse foreigners like me used to eating them peeled. Overall the dish was pretty solid; similar to tanmen, but otherwise different from the kind of noodles you'd find at a festival.



Sunday, April 9, 2017

Kyo Yasai Festival

Just like a couple years ago, at the end of October in Kyoto they held the Kyo Yasai Festival. There was a large selection of ramen shops, all made with Kyoto Kujo negi. It was Halloween, and I knew I would be drinking at night, so I had to have a couple hearty bowls during the day.


For my first bowl I decided to try Noodle Labratory Kinton. They offered a rich miso that I decided would be my starter.


The Bowl
Not a thick miso like I would expect, Kintoun's bowl was more like a thin miso barbecue sauce. To match this, the noodles were of medium thickness, and they tasted strongly of wheat. There were nice chunks of green onion mixed in, and the chashu, though fell apart quickly, was very well done.


For round two I spotted KÜCHE, a shop I first had the pleasure of trying just a few months earlier. Their special offering was a Kyo spicy shoyu.

二回目は何ヶ月前に初めて食べたKÜCHEという店です。KÜCHEが提供したのがKyo Spicy Shoyuでした。
The Bowl
This was a dark, roasty, garlicky shoyu. There was a little bit of a kick, but it was more salty than spicy. The noodles were medium-thin and short; just a little insubstantial for a strong soup like this. The chashu, too, was meaty but a bit tough, but as always, the Kujo green onions were a nice mix-in.


And no better way to wash it all down than with Kuji negi ice cream.



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Kyu Beer Belly

I have a few different things I love in life, and only rarely do they come together. A while ago one of the Beer Bellys, the bars run by Osaka craft brewery Minoh Beer, moved a few doors down from where it had used to be. In its place, the people behind Mitsukabozu created a ramen shop. Being too lazy to change the sign, they named it Kyu Beer Belly, or "old Beer Belly".

Kyu Beer Belly's specialty is shrimp miso curry ramen. In other words, they took every good thing that could be in ramen, and put them together. They offered cheese as a topping and pickles on the side, both of which I partook in.



Place a red marker for rice, yellow, for cheese, and green for pickles.
トッピングと一品によって 札を取ります。

The Bowl
Perhaps only the geniuses behind Mitsukabozu could make a bowl this erratic work. The core flavor was a rich miso, with light notes of curry that were kept in check. After each slurp, the shrimp came in as an aftertaste, reminding me it was there. The noodles were medium thick, and straight; built for the thick broth they sat in. The cheese was pretty strange too; it was a parmesan-like cheese you'd expect to have grated over pasta. Along with the shrimp, it gave the whole dish a creamier, pasta-like quality, and it was especially good when mixed in with everything else.


Would I Go Again?
I would definitely love to, but the hours are terrible and also the shop closed.


Should You Go?
If it was still open, you should have.