Kikanbo: CILANTRO & SICHUAN PEPPERCORN MISO RAMEN

Place: Kikanbo

Location: Address:  2 Chome-10-10 Kajicho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0044, Japan

Note: Kikanbo translates to the big club that japanese devils carry around

Dish: Cilantro & Sichuan Peppercorn Miso Ramen

Price: ¥1080

REVIEW: Flavorful, deep, rich, sweat inducing broth. Great egg! Amazing mix of chili & sichuan peppercorns with fresh cilantro – awesome! If I could only repeat visit one Ramen joint in Tokyo again, this would be it! 

Score: rating_5

Cilantro Sichuan Peppercorn Miso

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KAGARI: Tori Paitan Soba Ramen (Tokyo)

Chicken Ramen? Really? Well I was back in Tokyo and this is where I was introduced to Cheese Ramen and Burnt Miso Ramen so why not, let’s give Chicken Ramen a try. My co-worker Nick had eaten here before and to this day, he still talks about Kagari and to him, his all time favorite Ramen, the Chicken Ramen. All he said was “try it but be prepared to wait”. So with that in mind, Brad (my Japanese Ramen partner-in-crime) and I went to the immense shopping district of Ginza to find our prize.

Kagari is located on a side street next to the giant Apple Store, all you have to do is look for the line-up. Tucked into an alleyway is a line of people waiting to get into this tiny “blink-and-you-will-miss-it” restaurant with no singage other that a small illuminated SOBA sign. We were the 20th people in line, even at 9:15pm so we discussed games and comics and laughed until about 20 minutes later when a friendly cook came by to take our orders. We both ordered the Tori Paitan Soba Ramen with the soft-boiled Seasoned Egg, in other words, the infamous Chicken Ramen. The menu says: “Concentrated Chicken Soup noodles. The soup is creamy with rich taste. Topping with Chicken Breast meat and seasonal vegetables”. Sounds very interesting.

25 minutes later when we finally got into the restaurant, we were greeted with six seats in a U-shape with an open kitchen in the back, awesome! No wonder there was a line-up! Within a minute of sitting, we had our bowls presented to us and… wow. Not only was this one of the most unique looking bowls but that smell son! That smell!!! How heavenly, in all my bowls of Ramen I had not smelled something as tantalizing as this. First off the look: a pale, creamy broth filled with homemade noodles, thinly sliced, absolutely fresh chicken breast, flavorful bamboo and crisp broccoli. The smell: like what you think chicken soup should smell like in your imagination, robust & mouth-watering. Finally, the taste: rich, soothing, complex yet unrefined. This was truly an amazing bowl of flavorful soup, I did not want it to end! It was like drinking velvet it was so good.

Brad and I hardly said a word while we dined on this meal, other than the odd grunt of bliss from this absolutely stunning bowl of Ramen. Within 20 minutes we were done, satisfied and content with plastered smiles on our faces. This was a fantastic meal. I must thank Nick for recommending Kagari and this delightful Tori Paitan Soba “Chicken” Ramen, it’s one of the most original and flavorful bowls of ramen I’ve had in my life. Historically, Chicken Ramen actually was actually a popular thing before Pork Tonkotsu set the Ramen world on fire, now it’s harder to find but thanks to amazing bowls like this, Chicken Ramen is making a comeback in a big, big way! I will always remember this!

Tori Paitan Soba Ramen

Dish: Tori Paitan Soba Ramen
Location: Kagari
Address: 4-4-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Price ¥1080
Rating: rating_5

Nishiazabu-Gogyo: Burnt Miso Ramen (Tokyo)

For my second Tokyo ramen adventure, Brad took me to a little place called GOGYO. Located in the Nishiazabu District, this place focusses on Soy and Miso ramen rather than Tonkotsu while offering a few other choices as well. This is the place that Brad says he can “only eat at once in a while as the flavor is too much, its too bold, too powerful but so tasty”. Wow, I have to try this!!!

Little known tidbit of into but the owner of IPPUDO also owns this place but there are only two of them making GOGYO that much more rare. The three of us were seated quickly and quickly ordered some appies: Ramen Pocky (Deep friend ramen noodles dusted with ramen spices), Tofu Hotpot (cubed tofu and a hot & spicy sauce) and Gyoza (bite-sized and similar in taste to the Ippudo Gyoza). All three appies were excellent and just got me hungrier for the main event. I ordered the Kogashi Miso-Men or “Burnt Miso Ramen” while Brad & Drake ordered the Burnt Soy Ramen. Get that ramen in my belly!

A large black bowl arrived filled with a steaming black broth, wow, what a striking visual. The thin noodles and chashu pork were submerged in this inky black broth, only the stark white of the half egg & fish cake were visible above the blackness. Under the broth I also found ground pork and mushrooms so I mixed it all together and went for my first bite!

Wow… wow, wow, wow!

I can honestly say that this is the most uniquely flavored ramen I have had yet. Rich, salty, strong miso but delicate finish, this truly was a completely different flavor than I was used to. Also, while I an not usually a fan of thinner noodles, I found that they complimented the Burnt Miso broth, seeing the black broth and bits of fat & pork clinging to those noodles as you slurp them up was a great visual. The chashu was fresh and delicate but I was really pleased with the ground pork as it added a lovely flavor and texture addition to each bite. Also, I commend them on the temperature of their ramen, it was damn hot, the way a proper ramen should be served.

Overall, while startled with the unique flavor, I quite enjoyed it. I wouldn’t want to eat it every week but once in a while it would be a welcome flavor change. GOGYO is definitely worthy of a try but be prepared for something different, tasty, but different.

Burnt Miso Ramen

Dish: Kogashi Miso-men (Burnt Miso Ramen)
Location: Nishiazabu-Gogyo
Address: 106-0031 Tokyo, Minato, Nishiazabu, 1-4-36
Price ¥880
Rating: rating_4
Website: http://www.ramendining-gogyo.com/