Welcome to Tokyo Ramen Street
This may be the first sign that you’re close to Tokyo Ramen Street.
Lining Up for Ramen
Here’s the primary entrance to Tokyo Ramen Street. Lines form from the start of lunch, especially at the extremely popular Rokurinsha, pictured.
Meet the Ramen Masters and Their Bowls
You’ll find posters and even a video providing information about each of the ramen restaurants. You may not be able to read the writing, but the pictures can help you with your difficult decision-making. After all, it’s hard for one person to eat more than one bowl of ramen, so your vote is important.
Dressed for (Ramen) Success
It’s difficult to be dainty when slurping noodles and broth. Do as many Japanese salarymen do, by not hesitating to don a paper apron. This is noodle couture.
Inside Honda Ramen
Salarymen slurping in unison at Honda, an up-and-coming ramen restaurant with an original location in a distant part of northern Tokyo. There are artistic bowls in the showcase.
Shoyu ramen at Honda
Honda is an excellent place to try shoyu (soy sauce-based) ramen. The broth is made from “the perfect harmony” of chicken and fish. The egg comes whole, but you’ll find a runny, orange yolk inside. The nice portion of negi (a sort of Japanese leek that is hard to find and expensive in the United States) adds fabulous flavor to broth.
A Rice Bowl to Go with a Ramen Bowl
A popular side dish at Honda is this rice bowl with chashu pork, menma (bamboo shoots), half of a hard-boiled egg, negi, and a little green onion. Combined with a bowl of ramen, this constitutes serious carbo-loading (and cholesterol-loading).
Inside Hirugao Ramen
A look inside Hirugao, part of the Setagaya group of ramen restaurants. This is another of the more popular places at Tokyo Ramen Street.
Get Your Ramen Tickets
Start here at Hirugao’s ticketing machine. This one shows you photos of your ramen choices, as well as the common gyoza sidekick. Feed your money to the slot, and the machine will issue you tickets to give to one of the attendants.
Ready for Ramen at Your Table
At your table, you’ll find what you need for your ramen experience. (Note the ticket halves on the table.) Hashi (chopsticks) are in the drawer. From the left is a self-serve water pitcher (ramen will make you thirsty), spice powder, vinegar, toothpicks, soy sauce, black pepper, soup spoons, and napkins.
Ramen Chefs at Work
Chefs preparing the food at Hirugao. The workers are diligent and proud of their creations. It’s hot and hectic in the kitchen, but they march on. Note the double-fisted approach of the chef on the right, pouring two noodle baskets at the same time.
Enjoying Ramen at Hirugao
Fellow comrades in slurping. Eating ramen is quick, fun, and a somewhat serious affair.
Finding Harmony in a Hirugao Bowl
Here’s Hirugao’s shio (salt-based) ramen. This is a delicate broth, made from chicken, niboshi (dried sardines), and kaibashira (adductor muscle of the scallop)—and happens to be the best shio broth I’ve ever tasted. The bowl includes chashu, menma, negi, a hard-boiled egg, and a sheet of nori.
Gyoza Goes Well with Ramen
Gyoza is probably the most popular side dish at a ramen restaurant. They’re crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and you dip them in soy sauce.
More Dumpling Delight at Hirugao
At Hirugao, you can go dumpling-crazy by also ordering a dish of wontons. Eat with a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar (mix in the accompanying negi and hot sauce), or, if you like, you can add the wontons to the ramen.
Dessert with Your Ramen
For dessert, Hirugao offers annin tofu, which is like an almond pudding. This one is unique, as it has a topping of lemon jelly, adding a welcome citrus note.
I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing...
If you’ve finished all of your food, next on your to-do list is likely a need for lots of thirst-quenching water, a bathroom, and a nap to take care of your food coma.