In the midst of watching all the TV Japanese program about foods, I haven’t had the time to catch up on, I got addicted to PBS: The Mind of a Chef. Specifically David Chang -who has a wildly successful ramen restaurant called Momofuku in New York City. Narrated by Anthony Bourdain, it chronicles his journey into becoming a chef through working various ramen shops in Tokyo.
While talking about his culinary inspiration in Tokyo, he goes to Rokurinsha at the basement of the Tokyo metro station. Looked so good on TV that we just had to check it out. It literally was like finding a needle in the haystack that is the Tokyo metro station’s Ramen Alley.
Salarymen would line up in a queue for more than an hour during lunch time just for this tasty Ramen. I suggest going for breakfast or early dinner to miss the ever-present line-up.
They do have their system down pat though. Once you order on the vending machine (the upper left is usually the house recommendation as in most ramen shops) then it’s down to eating! Not to worry, there is always friendly staff to help you should you get stuck. Added bonus, can pay via your Pasmo (subway card)!
It was one the best ramen I’ve had – chewy noodles and broth with so much crack-like depth that you can”t get enough. Luckily once you’re out of noodles, they will fill the broth bowl with warm water and can drink the soup base straight. For free! Unheard of in Japan. For $1-2 more, can get more noodles. Quite a bargain.
If still in the mood for line waiting, it is also around the corner from Chicago’s famous Garrett popcorn (caramel/cheese combo a must – weird sounding, but awfully tasty).
Along with a snack souvenir shop across the hall from the line. All the myriad of kit kat flavors can be seen there (a huge hit with my tourist friends).