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It’s worth stopping by during your stroll through town! Extremely rare ramen and tsukemen in Minato, Tokyo

The best gourmet foods that make you want to travel just to encounter their flavors are undoubtedly ramen and tsukemen. There may even be more than a few enthusiasts who make sure to stop by ramen shops that are popular in the region whenever they travel. Therefore, we would like to introduce extremely rare bowls of ramen that you can only enjoy in Minato, Tokyo. Please have a look at various special kinds of ramen that are sure to make you hungry just by looking!
*The information listed is accurate as of May 19th, 2021 (the date of our coverage).
Depending on the facility, there is a possibility that the hours of operation have changed or that they are closed. For details, please check each facility’s official home page.
*Please refrain from unnecessary or nonessential outings while under a state of emergency.

[Shiba] The Extra Spicy Tanmen at Ikekomaken is an extremely hot ramen made by a long-established restaurant that got their hands on the world’s spiciest chili pepper

Ikekomaken is located at basically the southernmost end of Shiba Shopping Street, which is lined with delicious restaurants. This long-established Chinese restaurant that fits right into the scenery of the shopping street has a popular bowl of ramen that attracts fans from far away.

This restaurant that was founded in 1944 changed ownership 4 years ago, as the second-generation owner, who trained under the first-generation owner, now manages the restaurant together with the wife of the first-generation owner. The interior of the restaurant, which has table seating and raised tatami-floored seating, gives off a nostalgic impression through features like the hand-written menu items pasted all over the walls.

The basic combination meals, such as Shrimp in Chili Sauce (1,030 yen) and Sweet and Sour Pork (980 yen), are also appealing, but what we would like to feature is the Extra Spicy Tanmen (850 yen), which is the restaurant’s specialty item. Shiba Shopping Street actually started a project called Shibakara Extra Spicy Street to revitalize nearby businesses during the global financial crisis of 2009. Menu items containing bhut jolokia, which is the spiciest chili pepper in the world, have lifted up the town. What stands out in particular among these menu items is this bowl of ramen that is said to be ordered by over half of the customers at times.

The spiciness of this bowl that spicy food enthusiasts make pilgrimages for can be adjusted from 1 to 5 (level 3 is pictured). The bright red soup is made by adding powdered bhut jolokia to the restaurant’s vaunted soup and boiling it down. Apparently, level 1 has the equivalent of 6 peppers, while level 5 has the equivalent of 33 peppers. It is so spicy that the owner recommends level 0.5, which is the “apprentice level”, for first-timers, even though the lowest level is 1. How does it actually compare!?

As soon as it was carried to the table, a stimulating, hot wind hit our eyes directly… Then, when we took our first bite of the noodles, we noticed the mild flavor of tanmen at first, but the spiciness of bhut jolokia blasted our entire tongues like a laser beam right after we felt a bit relieved. Our mouths were so hot that they felt like they were on fire, while our foreheads became drenched with sweat. Then, as we took our next bites, the umami of the tanmen and the spiciness of bhut jolokia took turns hitting us before we almost violently lost consciousness in the moment that the accumulated spiciness hit us at once. It is delicious but spicy. That phrase is perfect for this bowl.

Although you surprisingly may not notice it because it is masked by the spiciness, but it also has a lot of cabbage, sprouts, carrots, and other vegetables. Only the sweetness of the cabbage provides comfort like an oasis amid the intense spiciness. To add, those who complete level 5 apparently earn the right to order level 6 and higher next time. Lovers of spicy food are sure to become repeat customers.

By adding 100 yen to the price, you can make other menu items extra spicy. How about confirming the impact of the combination of a long-established Chinese restaurant and the most powerful chili pepper by all means when you go sightseeing at Zojoji Temple and Tokyo Tower.
[Restaurant Information]
Ikekomaken
Address: 2-28-18 Shiba, Minato, Tokyo
Phone Number: 03-3451-1654
Hours of Operation: 11:00 - 21:00
Regular Days Off: Sundays and Holidays

[Nogizaka] The Sea Urchin Tsukemen at Maruhiko Ramen offers a delicious harmony between the treasure of the sea and tsukemen

Maruhiko Ramen was founded in Roppongi in 1998 and has continued to be loved in the city that doesn’t sleep as a ramen shop during the day and a ramen bar at night. As a result of construction to expand the roads last year, it moved from the familiar location it called home for over 20 years to its current location near Nogizaka.

The owner looks back to the restaurant’s founding, “At the time that we opened, Roppongi Intersection was packed with people even past midnight. I wanted to try opening a shop in a city with this kind of energy.” Its popular classic item is the Hokkaido Miso and Green Onion Ramen (900 yen) that has a rich flavor from the combination of the sauce that is made of a blend of 2 types of miso from Hokkaido and the seafood soup taken from ingredients like Japanese scallops and mackerel. Even though it moved to a new location, this bowl that has not changed at all continues to capture the hearts of regulars.

Meanwhile, fans of the idol group Nogizaka 46 also support the popularity of this restaurant, along with regulars. Its popularity soared as a result of a popular member of the group at the time introducing this restaurant on a TV show. Apparently, it has become one of the can’t-miss spots of the “pilgrimage” to the Nogizaka area, along with Nogi Shrine, where you can see ema drawn by them, and the National Art Center, which served as the backdrop for the cover of their second album. The ramen combinations named after the members are ordered by nearly all of their fans when they visit. Many other celebrities have come here also.

With that said, the extremely rare menu item that caught our attention is the Sea Urchin Tsukemen (900 yen), which will surprise you with its impactful name alone. The special sea urchin soup is made by adding condiments, such as soy sauce, and their vaunted soup to a base of sea urchins from Shimoniseki, Yamaguchi. Furthermore, this luxurious tsukemen is topped with a raw sea urchin.

The soup that gets caught in the thick noodles containing whole wheat flower has a creamy deliciousness that allows you to properly enjoy the flavor of sea urchin. Since olive oil is used for the oil, the natural taste of sea urchin is not ruined, while sake lees serve as an accent to establish an exquisite harmony between the uniqueness of sea urchin and tsukemen.

If you pour the special sea urchin soup on the complimentary small bowl of rice, you can also enjoy the feeling of a sea urchin bowl to double the fun. Whether or not you love sea urchin, you are sure to be moved.

Even after nearly a quarter of a century has passed since establishment, the owner claims to never stop seeking deliciousness at all times. By all means, please try these evolving flavors when you go sightseeing in Roppongi.
[Restaurant Information]
Maruhiko Ramen
Address: B1F Grand Maison Nogizaka 1-15-19 Minamiaoyama, Minato, Tokyo
Phone Number: 03-3796-0888
Hours of Operation: 11:00 - 22:00
Regular Days Off: None
Official Website: https://maruhiko-nogizaka.com

[Toranomon Hills] The Entire Ayu Ramen at Ayu Ramen+ has maximum attraction through its powerful appearance of an entire ayu!

Toranomon Hills Business Tower just opened last year. Toranomon Yokocho, which is located on its third floor, is a gourmet hotspot featuring Tokyo’s well-known restaurants that even make a deep impression on businesspeople in Toranomon with discerning taste. Ayu Ramen+ is located next to the entrance to Toranomon Yokocho.

The restaurant, which has counter seating that basically surrounds the kitchen, has a sense of familiarity that makes you feel as if they brought in a ramen stall as is. At the same time, the atmosphere is refined, as it makes you feel as if you are at the counter at a bar.

This is the first branch that follows from the flagship restaurant in Futakotamagawa, Setagaya. As you can guess by the name of the restaurant, its signature item is the Ayu Ramen (700 yen), which contains an ayu, which is very rare even in Japan.

The owner from Gifu Prefecture is said to have spent 3 years developing Ayu Ramen out of a desire to share the deliciousness of ayu. Ayu caught in Maze River in the owner’s home prefecture of Gifu is used together with chicken and aromatic vegetables to make the soup stock. The ramen, for which the umami of ayu is even infused into the soy sauce and oil used to season the sauce, is the ultimate bowl that was undoubtedly born through the owner’s love for this home region and pursuit of all things ayu.

Furthermore, the Entire Ayu Ramen (1,100 yen; pictured with a ramen egg for +100 yen) has this impressive appearance because it is topped with an entire ayu that has been salted and dried overnight!

More importantly than the impact of the ayu that extends beyond the container, this bowl, which is said to have been developed with the intent to make ramen that you can eat every day without getting tired of it and ramen that even the elderly can eat without any worries, whets your appetite through the translucent soup that is clear like the streams that ayu swim in. The soup that has plenty of the flavor of ayu combines gentleness with a powerful kick from the sauce. The extremely thin crimped noodles from a factory in Takayama, Gifu, which is famous for its Takayama Ramen, is another reason why you can enjoy this ramen without feeling too heavy.

Fat gradually seeps out of the fresh-grilled ayu, adding flavor to the soup as you eat. Also, you can bite into the ayu from its head, as its bones have been carefully removed.

To add, the vaunted Ayu Yaki Onigiri (200 yen) side dish is made of rice that has been cooked with ayu bones and special ayu seasoning before being flavored with ayu soy sauce. Apparently, the restaurant’s recommended way of eating it is to take a bite first before putting it in the soup to enjoy it like congee. Please enjoy the special soup until its last drop, whether you drink it as is, turn it into congee, or any other way you would like.

Toranomon is experiencing a rebirth, as new restaurants pop up one after another. If you come by for sightseeing, wouldn’t you like to try this bowl that will allow you to feel the owner’s respect for ayu?
[Restaurant Information]
Ayu Ramen+
Location: 3F Toranomon Hills Business Tower 1-17-1 Toranomon, Minato, Tokyo
Hours of Operation: 11:30 – 15:00, 17:00 - 22:00
Regular Days Off: None
Official Website: https://ayuramen.jp

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