Category Archives: FOOD

Quality Miso Ramen in Nogata: Hanamichi


Hanamichi (味噌麺処 花道) is highly praised for its miso ramen in Nogata. They’re also open for breakfast and are actually one of the highest ranked miso ramen shops in Tokyo.

Punchy Miso Ramen

The miso ramen at Hanmichi can be described as punchy. This is because it’s far saltier than most miso ramen. But it still carries that oiliness and thickness common to this ramen genre.

Keeping it punchy, there’s also a ton of garlic in the broth. You can top up your vegetables (mainly bean sprouts) for free and they’ll come on a separate plate.

After extra bean sprouts

This is good because adding the bean sprouts makes the broth significantly more watery towards the end. The noodles are super springy and more straight than your typically wavy miso ramen noodles.

I have yet to try Hanamichi’s spicy miso ramen. This has been on my to do list for some time. The spicy version would be interesting because the Hanamichi’s owner used to work at famed spicy ramen chain Nakamoto.

Despite being on the saltier side, Hanamichi is all about quality miso ramen in Nogata. …continue reading


Mamma Jiima: Koenji


Warayaki, or straw-roasted cooking, is a technique for quickly searing ingredients like chicken and bonito at very high temperatures. It’s entertaining to watch, and the straw imparts a pleasant, slightly woody aroma to the food. The warayaki chicken here is beautifully prepared, complemented by garlicky seasoning and served over a bed of vinegared raw cabbage with a hefty helping of cilantro.

The grilled sausage and the sashimi of the day are also top-notch, as are vegetable side dishes like fried ginkgo nuts with Himalayan salt, fried corn, and renkon-kimpira (spicy lotus-root salad). The sake list is short but effective, centered on five varieties of the excellent Mutsu Hassen from Aomori. Other drink options include shochu, Hoppy, and a very budget-friendly wine list.

The atmosphere is hip and casual, with a mix of customers that skews a bit younger than your typical Koenji izakaya. Seating can be a bit tight but not especially uncomfortable, and service is friendly. There’s an English menu, but it’s worth checking the hand-written sheets for daily specials and the menu on the wall above the counter for additional sake choices. Budget around Y3000-4000 for ample food and drink at dinnertime. …continue reading


New opening – Gochiton: Otemachi


Tonjiru – pork miso soup – is the main dish here and it’s very tasty soup indeed. Packed with tofu and fresh vegetables (carrots, daikon, onions and leeks), it’s got a pleasantly creamy consistency and wonderful depth of flavor. Soups start at Y640 a la carte or Y890 for a teishoku (soup plus rice, pickles and a small salad), and you can add in ingredients like egg, natto, pork spareribs and keema curry, or upgrade to fancier types of miso.

The shop is run by Camp Curry, the popular campsite-themed vegetable-curry chain, and they use premium-grade vegetables similar to those in their curries. While this branch is notably lacking in atmosphere, at least service is fast and efficient, and you can get everything to go. …continue reading


Niboshi Ramen in Iriya: Mendokoro Haru

Niboshi Ramen in Iriya

Mendokoro Haru is a fine option for niboshi ramen in Iriya. Said ramen is an amicable blend of niboshi sardines, chicken and tangy soy sauce.

Shoyu Ramen – Get All Toppings

Their flagship niboshi (shoyu) ramen with all toppings is simply called “Tokusei Soba”. These toppings include soy sauced marinated egg and hosaki menma, three sheets of seaweed, raw onions, and slow cooked pork chashu and chicken that’s likely been seasoned with fish.

This all adds up to a relatively modern take on ramen, right down to using the word “soba”. The broth is thin and the lightly flavored shoyu allows both the niboshi and chicken to come out dramatically, with the niboshi coming out stronger.

Niboshi Ramen in Iriya - Noodles

The thin and firm takasui noodles are like wheaty daggers that have the ability to break through the thin broth.

Other Ramen Options

They also serve a shio (salt) ramen and a super thick (noukou) shoyu ramen. If you want the thicker one, come early, as it sells out pretty quickly.

Niboshi Ramen in Iriya - Inside

All 3 ramen choices are quality. In the same regard, Mendokoro Haru is one of the best choices for ramen in Iriya.

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Unboxing Instant Ramen Pack – Courtesy of Zenpop


I recently unboxed ZenPop’s Northern Japan instant ramen pack, which had a focus on richer and creamier flavors. From soupless yakisoba with mayo to buttery shio ramen, I had a delicious blast!

ZenPop ships their fun ramen packs all over the world. Also, they also always include an info sheet so you know what you’re eating. Here are the tasty options in the Northern Japan pack.

Potato Butter Shio Ramen

Like its name, butter is the centerpiece…literally. When you pour in the hot water, a generous block of butter is front and center.

When it comes to the flavors, the butter is most immediate, followed by the salty shio seasoning. The chunks of potato add nice texture and a starchiness to the broth.

Soymilk Sesame Miso Ramen

In this unique instant ramen, soy milk adds a clean creaminess. The miso and sesame are present but they take more of a backseat.

All three go well together and create a relatively mild but flavorful broth. Firm, wavy noodles politely remind that this is still miso ramen!

Vegetable Paitan Tanmen

This is exactly as it should be. There’s a strong shio base (tanmen) with just enough richness to thicken the broth (paitan). Like traditional tanmen, this instant ramen also features a good amount of carrots, cabbage and corn.

<img data-attachment-id="3792" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="2000,2000" data-comments-opened="0" data-image-meta='{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"}' data-image-title="Instant-Ramen-Vegetable-Paitan-Tanmen" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="" srcset=" 2000w, 150w, 300w, 768w, 1024w, 1080w" sizes="(max-width: 1080px) 100vw, …continue reading