If you're visiting Tokyo for business or pleasure, there's a good chance you'll be staying in the Shinjuku area. Arrive at night, and you'll feel like an alien (or perhaps a replicant?) amidst all the neon in the Blade Runner-like atmosphere. And while amazing Japanese food surrounds you, that alien feeling may challenge you in navigating the streets (addresses are difficult in Japan), not to mention the menus, and perhaps even the basic how-tos of ordering and etiquette. Read on for a list of essential Japanese dishes to eat in Tokyo and our favorite spots to enjoy them, all right in the Shinjuku area.
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With the opening of his flagship restaurant on the Lower East Side, Ivan Orkin brings a wacky touch to New York's somewhat staid ramen scene. Beyond the lighter, less fatty ramen broths (a refreshing change-up from the New York standard), he now has menu items like fried tofu with Coney Island chili sauce and roast pork onigiri topped with tomato. Orkin's new restaurant shows the potential for ramen to join the broader category of American cuisine.
Here's something you may not know: Sun Noodle, the noodle supplier for some of the finest ramen shops on both coasts, produces refrigerated packs of fresh ramen noodles paired with concentrated sauce bases intended to be cooked just like instant ramen. I headed over to Mitsuwa in New Jersey and got my hands on their four flavors—shoyu, tonkotsu, tan tan, and miso—and gave 'em a taste to see how they stack up to local ramen shops and other instant noodle brands.
Though "chirashi" literally translates to "scattered," I always think of classic chirashi as the composed salad of sushi preparations: a bed of vinegared rice overlaid with fanned out fish fillets and tidy bunches of vegetables set just so. The chirashi at Pai Men Miyake is particularly nice and well portioned for the price.
I was excited to see the opening of Strings Ramen in Chinatown just a few doors down from The Phoenix Room. I got even more excited when I saw the menu only has four bowls of ramen on it, because I'd rather see a place with a few items it does well rather than a billion things it does a mediocre job with (I'm looking at you, Cheesecake Factory).
While the onslaught of new ramen restaurants seems to have died down a bit lately, Ajida opened up quietly on Wells just over a month ago. I'm used to ramen stands being a little beat up and homey looking, but that's probably just the Asian romantic in me. Mostly because I am, in fact, Asian.
4649 Restaurant and Ramen Man are steps apart from each other, but each one brings its own distinct style to the bourgeoning Wallingford Japantown.
Chuko opened in 2011 and continues to draw enough of a dinner crowd that evening waits for a table can stretch perilously close to one hour. But the idea of ramen on a bitingly cold day is too good to pass up, and for the vegetarian noodle-lover, there's good news: Chuko does a great bowl of meat-free ramen.
Beef offal specialist Takashi recently started a late-night ramen menu by reservation only. Forget pork tonkotsu; here's ramen with Kobe beef belly.
I never need an excuse to eat Asian noodle soups, but it being the dead of winter and the start of Chinese New Year, the timing seemed particularly good for rounding up a few of my favorites.
A homemade version of the wildly popular (and wildly delicious) Shin Cup Ramyun Korean instant noodle, flavored with beef and spicy chilies.
A homemade version of Korean-style spicy beef instant noodles made with short ribs, Korean chili paste, and kimchi.
Ivan Ramen's Slurp Shop is open, and it's good. Really, really good. The last great ramen rush in New York was all about the pork. It's not until the last year or so that we've been dipping our feet into craziness that is modern ramen. Slurp Shop marks New York's first headlong dive, and it's fitting that a Jewish guy from Long Island is bringing it to us, leaving authenticity far behind in the dust.
I interviewed author Matthew Amster-Burton, one of the funniest writers I know, about his new book, Pretty Good Number One, which details his experiences eating around Tokyo. Plus, a ramen-filled excerpt from the book!
It feels a little trite to report about another Momofuku-ish noodle joint, but the food at Philly's CHeU Noodle Bar is worth talking about.
I am a ramen freak. This is something I didn't really know about myself until about 14 days ago when I waked into Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in the newly opened Gotham West Market. I've been back five times since they opened. I'd admit to six, but that would be a little embarrassing.
Turkey soup is all well and good for the day after Thanksgiving, and what's more, it's a snap to make. But sometimes I don't feel like making things snappy. Sometimes I feel like investing a bit more time into my scraps. Sometimes I feel like I want my home to smell like simmering turkey broth for an entire day before I get to dig into the fruits of my labor (or really, the fruits of my stove's labor, because it does the lion's share of work in this recipe). Enter Turkey Paitan Ramen.
A rich and creamy turkey broth flavored with miso and sesame with crispy braised turkey meat, a soft boiled egg, and Brussels sprouts leaves.
The Ramen Rater takes the Rapid Ramen Cooker, which claims to cook bowls of instant noodles in the microwave perfectly every time, for a spin.