The 6 best things I ate in Tokyo

  1. Tokusei niboshi ramen at Nagi Golden Gai (Nearest station: Shinjuku)

A tiny 24 hr hole-in-the-wall located up a narrow flight of stairs in an unassuming alleyway in the old Golden Gai district in Shinjuku. The broth is a funky mix of pork and sardines topped with pork, egg, and onion. Slightly fermented aftertaste from the sardines, but not too overpowering. Avoid if that’s not your thing. ¥1100.

2. Tonkotsu ramen at Menya Musashi (Nearest station: Shinjuku)

A chain ramen shop adjacent to Shinjuku station. This is your standard pork-based ramen dish done extremely well. Thick fatty cuts of pork, egg, and green onion. Reminded me of something I would find at a trendy ramen shop in SF, LA, or NY, but without the hype (or price). ¥1000.

3. Beef bukkake udon with egg at 慎 (Nearest station: Shinjuku)

A small udon shop off a side street near Shinjuku station. Prepare to wait. Fresh, handmade udon noodles topped with thinly sliced beef, grated daikon radish, scallion, and egg, with sauce served on the side. Stunning presentation. ¥1200.

4. Niku soba at Minatoya (Nearest station: Toronoman)

A hidden soba shop with across from Toronoman Hills (i.e. there is no sign — just follow the line of salarymen and salarywomen around the block). Standing room only around a black marble fountain in the center of the shop. The handmade soba was cooked al dente, topped with thinly sliced beef, green onion, and lots of sesame seeds and shredded seaweed. Bowls of raw eggs and crunchy panko-like bits line the table to be cracked and poured in the dipping sauce as you wish. ¥860.

5. Tori pai-tan at Kagari (Nearest station: Ginza)

Kagari is located in an aging alleyway in the otherwise ritzy Ginza district, with nothing more than a sign that reads “Soba” hanging above the door. This shop specializes in tori pai-tan, which literally translates to “chicken white soup.” The star of this dish is the broth, which is at once creamy but not heavy. Topped with a generous portion of white meat and a few vegetables I can’t quite name. One of my all-time favorite Ramen dishes. ¥1050.

6. Tsukemen ramen at Fuunji (Nearest station: Shinjuku)

Tsukemen literally translates to “separate”, and Tsukemen Ramen is a variation of ramen in which you dip noodles into a thick pork and chicken-based broth topped with egg, seaweed, and miso. Like most ramen shops in the city, you can pick the amount of noodles (small, medium, or large) you want with no extra charge. Just make sure you eat whatever you order — it’s only polite. And take it easy with the broth. It’s thick, chunky, and on the saltier side, but that’s sort of the point. ¥1000.

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