There are many restaurants in Tokyo which serve unique and tasty shoyu (soy sauce) ramen made with meat broth such as pork or chicken as well as seafood such as niboshi (small dried sardines) or katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes). Here are 5 tasty soy sauce ramen restaurants in Tokyo.
This is a famous restaurant where a line never ceases now though it has been open for more than 10 years. The first bite might make you think that it tastes a bit mild and light, but as you keep on eating it will become addictive. Many people drink all of the broth when they finish with the noodles. The broth has umami from both using land animals and seafood, as well as natural rock salt and other ingredients, and has a deep yet clear taste. The chewy egg noodles are very smooth and the homemade bamboo shoots are superb. Their fantastic service to customers, such as the hostess caring for those who are waiting in line, could be one of the reasons why it is popular on top of the delicious ramen.
2. Tsukiji Inoue
This restaurant is in the Tsukiji Outer Market, an area of shops surrounding the market where you can enjoy shopping and casual eating. You will notice the restaurant pretty easily, since many people eat ramen while standing beside the tables along the street next to a waiting line. They only offer Chuuka soba (700 JPY), and you can eat it quickly despite the wait. The shoyu-based broth made from chicken bones has been loved for more than 40 years, and has a light and mild taste which you will never get tired of. It's also famous for being served with so much char siu that you might think it is a char siu ramen. This restaurant was originally opened for those who work in the market, and that is why its operation hours are a bit unique, from 4:30 am - 1:30 pm. Please be aware of these hours when you go.
3. Mendokoro Haru
This is a restaurant famous for its ramen with a unique and robust broth made from niboshi (small dried sardines used for broth). Chuuka soba (730 JPY) is a simple dish and because of that, restaurants cannot get away with using ordinary broth or ingredients. This restaurant makes it with carefully-selected ingredients and serves ramen with clear amber-colored broth, rare, soft char siu, and tips of bamboo shoots. They use thin noodles which is rare for shoyu ramen. If you like a rich and strong taste, try the limited rich soba (780 JPY) with thick and rich broth, but it usually sells out by noon.
4. Ramen Koike
This is a popular ramen restaurant that was listed in the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2016 just 3 years after its opening. The broth is made from both niboshi and chicken. They carefully adjust its fragrance by mixing strong niboshi broth with chicken soup to make a deep and rich taste. The noodles have a unique texture which is just al dente, and go extremely well with the broth. Char siu comes in 2 different types: rare pork loin and chicken breast, both cooked at a low temperature. They are very soft and you will never find these flavors in other restaurants. The finely chopped onions have superb crunchiness. It is a delicate ramen and you can feel that it is made from carefully-selected ingredients.
5. Kitaotsuka Ramen
This is a restaurant famous for its impressive char siu noodles (800 JPY (incl. tax)), served with so many slices of char siu that you cannot see the noodles. The broth is made from chicken bones and is light with a hint of soy sauce, but the char siu oil gives it a richer and deeper taste. The popular way of eating this is to put the char siu on rice and pour the broth over it. It is so popular that apparently they sell out of rice sometimes. You should definitely try exquisite soy sauce ramen from this restaurant run by a couple from Mongolia.
Although the same term "shoyu ramen" is used to describe all these, the taste differs by the way they mix broth or soy sauce in the soup. Enjoy a trip to discover your favorite bowl of soy sauce-flavored ramen.
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