Ramen is an inexpensive dish that you can easily find anywhere in Japan. It was originally imported from China and has become one of the most popular dishes in the country. If you happen to be in Japan, you will find ramen on virtually every corner of the country. Nearly every region has its own variation of ramen. If you can’t get enough of this and would like to have ramen regularly, it would be best to extend your ramen adventure with these three ramen restaurants around Shinjuku (新宿).
This ramen restaurant was named after the legendary samurai, Miyamoto Musashi (宮本武蔵). It began its debut in Tokyo in 1996 and has gained an impressive number of regulars already. Menya Musashi focuses on the concept of “originality” by turning the preparation of ramen into a revolutionary work of art.
It offers multiple concepts and tastes, which has become synonymous with the brand. To give patrons higher satisfaction, the restaurant gives its noodles varying textures and a selection of soups. Lunchtime means there is a long queue of people waiting in line in front of the shop, so you have to come early if you’re eager to have a taste of the restaurant’s best-tasting ramen.
What’s unique about this place is the color of the ramen, which comes in white, red and black versions. The taste of the ramen is rich due to its signature white tonkotsu (豚骨) broth, which is made by boiling pork bones. Other soups customers can choose for their ramen include triple soup and Tokyo-Ueno (東京上野) style soup. These soups consist of fish and chicken as their main ingredients. You can also choose the strength of the broth and the size of the bowl. It is stewed in sweet Japanese wine and soy sauce for hours and melts like butter in the mouth.
The staff members are very animated while preparing the dish for you. They move with swift motions, like samurai executing blows in a duel. This shop is continuing to gather fame, and has even won acclaim in the budding world of ramen craziness since 1996. It is a safe bet for visitors and ramen veterans alike.
Tatsunoya is one of the best ramen restaurants in Shinjuku. It serves tonkotsu ramen and tsukemen (つけ麺; a noodle dish consisting of ramen which is eaten after dipping it in a separate bowl of soup). The piping hot tonkotsu ramen is perfectly ideal for winter time but not during hot, humid days. When you are craving noodles during summer time, it is best to try lukewarm tsukemen.
This food consists of cold noodles which is dipped into a warm broth. Both tonkotsu and tsukemen are really tasty, but the former is saltier while the latter is more filling as it is available with porridge as well as noodles. If you ever visit the place, you can alternate choosing from both of these delicious dishes. You can always eat both with a hard-boiled egg and finish it with a sweet torokeru purin (とろけるプリン) for dessert.
This restaurant is child-friendly, so you can definitely bring your kids along. A total of 18 seats are available, so if you arrive at peak times you have to wait in line for your turn as it is often crowded. Appetizers will be given to you as you wait for your order to arrive. There are chopsticks available at your seat so you can scoop the appetizers into the small dishes. This place is indeed a true landmark in the Shinjuku area. Some say that this is where you can find the very best ramen in the country.
The prices are very reasonable and the service is quick. If you have a hard time navigating through the Japanese vending machine, you may ask for help from the waiters. It also has a friendly atmosphere which goes well with the creamy, heavenly and complex taste of the ramen.
Men’ya Sho is another great ramen restaurant to look out for in Shinjuku. Its specialty dish is called shio ramen (塩ラーメン). This is a light chicken-based broth with a clean aftertaste. It looks like a simple dish with sea salt as its main seasoning ingredient and is one of the suggested comfort foods you should try. Most customers drink the broth in order to feel relaxed. If you’re after a more complicated dish, why not try the equally delicious miso ramen (味噌ラーメン)? Be careful if you decide to order it, though, as it is only served on Wednesdays.
You may also opt to have chicken tsukemen, which is made of free-range chicken. It is definitely a dish which challenges the standard taste of tsukemen. This dish comes with menma (メンマ; bamboo shoots), a slice of lemon, two types of char siu (pork) and dipping sauces, which are extremely rich and creamy. The hidden ingredients in these are Thai fish sauce and mayonnaise. You’ll also feel full as it is served with plenty of meat and some garlic chips sprinkled on top.
The restaurant also serves a creative and original ramen dish once a month. An example of this is the sea urchin (ウニ) tsukemen, which was served in 2014. It gave customers a chance to enjoy the sweetness of seafood with the rich flavor and fragrance of sea urchin. The noodles used were thin and broad, which glided smoothly into the throat.
Shinjuku is a battleground for ramen food chains. There are numerous popular ramen restaurants in the country which make it difficult for visitors to choose the best. These three ramen restaurants I’ve suggested will surely complete your ramen adventure as they’ll likely tickle your taste buds.
For ramen beginners, these are just the right places to start a long and exciting journey through the world of noodle soup. The ramen tastes absolutely incredible and is affordable, too, so that even if you’re on a tight budget, you can surely have a great gourmet experience. Always pay attention to both the taste and quality of ramen dishes if you’re considering high-class food. Enjoy!
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