Tokyo    ramen    in English    24 by 7     




Ikaruga had the longest line of any ramen shop that I have gone to recently, so I knew I was in for something special. It was a line of about 25 people at about 1:30 PM, and the total wait was about 45 minutes. After 15 minutes on line, there were about another 25 people behind me. It's good form to buy your ticket ahead of time, be sure to buy your ticket when you sufficiently advance on line, at about the time you get to the outdoor menu easel. One interesting thing that happened is that one of the store workers came out and gave the last few people on line (including me) a small envelope with a 100 yen coin in it, in order to make up for the fact that we would have to wait so long. I strongly recommend the pork and garlic abura soba (chashu ninnuku abura soba or ちゃーしゅう にんにく 油そば)、this is an excellent "shiru nashi" style dish (noodles and toppings and just a little broth and oil) that is even better IMO than Junk Garage's version. When you order the abura soba you also get a special tsukemen instruction sheet that tells you the correct way to prepare the dish once you receive it and the correct way to eat it, titled "The Tasty Way of Eating Abura Soba". A very rough translation of the four items (I had to get some help with the handwriting and we had to guess at some of the stuff in the light areas) is here:

1. Please mix the items up from the bottom.

2. When the taste becomes thin, please mix it more. After eating, there will be sauce and oil leftovers on the bottom. If you haven't mixed enough, the last one won't be salty.

3. Add black pepper, ichi-mi, vinegar to make the taste you want and please enjoy.

4. The timing of the putting-in, and the seasoning amount, will change the meaning [of the dish]. The finding of your favorite way to eat it is fun.

The noodles are very thin, thinner than spaghetti, and there are a lot of freshly chopped onions. The "chashu" part of the equation is covered by a set of 3/4" cube pork chunks in the bowl and 4 extra slices of grilled chashu on a plate. Another addition like Junk Garage is chopped up fried garlic. This adds a really rich flavor - a different type than Junk Garage, which is just Jiro style broth. I do strongly advise that you mix the bowl up thoroughly to coat everything, that is one of the recommendations on the instruction sheet. It has an excellent mix of texture and flavor, especially when you add some of the pepper and white vinegar. Definitely recommended.

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