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Japanese food’s standard is relatively high compared to the world. You don’t have to dine at a Michelin star restaurant, or a restaurant in a 5-star hotel to get all the best from the Japanese cuisine. The elegance of Japanese cuisine lies in inexpensive streets, in local eateries with dull-looking outward appearances. Definitely, it won’t cost you the earth to try the most wonderful food in Japan!
If your time allows, enjoying food at lunch is much cheaper than dinner. The meal usually costs only as half as dinner, and some eateries close very soon. I will gradually introduce all Japanese dishes that I have tried in Tokyo in the series, along with the price for each dish, and the addresses too (if I still remember the places lol). Based on my personal experience I will give each picture a point to indicate the yumminess of it, with the max of 10. Now, let’s start our first journey to the kingdom of Japanese cuisine in Tokyo!
Today is Ramen
Japan is well-known for ramen. You will be tempted to try all kinds of ramen when you arrive here. All variants of ramen are delightful, but personally, I found the Hakata tonkotsu variant suits me the best. Hakata-styled ramen usually is a mixture of small string noodle, wood ear mushroom (kikurage), chopped onion, seasoned egg (ajitama), slices of pork (chashu), salted sliced bamboo shoot (menma), and white, sweet scent of broth. Many people also claimed that the best ramen they had tried in Japan was Hakata style. Hakata-styled ramen restaurants often have a quiet, chill atmosphere.
Besides the Hakata variant, the Yokohama variants are noteworthy too. Yokohama-styled ramen often uses big string noodle, thickly sliced pork, spinach, and deep brown, thick, greasy fatty broth. Many Yokohama-styled ramen restaurants (Yokohama iekei) have a tiny place, only a bar with around ten seats, and the restaurants often cultivate a boisterous, energetic environment. Therefore it might be best to taste the Yokohama-styled ramen going alone, and it might not be suitable for women.
I also came across some variants which I couldn’t specify their origins.
Hakata-styled is a must try when you arrive in Japan, and fortunately, you don’t have to go all the way to Hakata to try this legendary ramen, as many places in Tokyo will offer this variant. Your safe bet is Ippudo (一風堂), they have established many branches globally so it means that they must have confidence in their recipe. Hakata-styled ramen restaurants often have a wide place, and they have an atmosphere of a normal restaurant so you can have your meal together with your friends. For Yokohama-styled ramen, you can rest assured that every Yokohama iekei (横浜家系, means Yokohama-styled) you try will likely taste the same. Since the restaurants are small, and the Yokohama-styled ramen restaurants are often loud and noisy, having your meal alone is going to be your best choice.
Ramen is one of the Japanese dishes that brings Japanese cuisine to the world. Having your best bowl of ramen will leave you with beautiful memories when you think back to your time in Japan.