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Sunday, October 28, 2012

NERIMA: Raijin Menya for 50% off ramen... but was it worth it? Your call!

From a distance I spot 3rd year anniversary specials... 

I'm sold! Where can you find half priced ramen except thru Groupon?

Stacks and stacks of noodle boxes!  

Two of the ramen's were on sale but I had to go for the Osusume miso ramen... this place doesn't have a machine where I can simply push the top left corner button but it took a bit of time to decide between Shoyu  and Shio-salt ramen.

One thing I noticed that there was no standard Egg topping... Normally franchise shops have this but it was an additional 80yen.

Lots of options nicely pictured... 

There it was... my 320yen ramen!  Very nice deep colored shoyu soup base.

Piece of char-siu was average... no cravings for more after I left.

You have a choice of thin noodles (hoso-men) or regular noodles.  I went for regular as I'm a huge fan of chunky noodles... but honestly this place easily fell into the supermarket quality for its noodles.  See how its kinda curly... I honestly don't like this.  Its like eating at a fast food restaurant vs a Mom n Pop shop.

There is a little red pepper here for a nice kick to this somewhat boring ramen.

I loooove garlic and when I'm without it for a while my energy level falls.  But had to pass..

Think this might have been chopped onions...

Overall I realized that its simply not worth it to have ramen thats 50% off if its not your style... but live and learn but would I pay full price for this? Nah... I'd easily walk over to the next station for some amazing Ramen Jiro for 650yen.  BUT!!  They do offer 2 free serving of extra noodle called "Kaidama."  Be warned they will give you 2 very heaping piles on 2 plates if you want it... dude next to me got it and as you know noodles expand when they are in your stomach.

Shop: Raijin Menya (Rising Menya?)
Address J: 東京都練馬区豊玉北5-22-1
Address E: Tokyo, Nerima-ku, Toyotamachikita 5-22-1

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Friday, October 26, 2012

IKEBUKURO: Bankara Ramen... Lowly 2.74pts ouch!

The third and final stop after an early dinner at the most affordable 100yen Beer Izakaya, then a small mom and pop pub in the back alleys of Ikebukuro... 

Push button ramen ticket dispenser in the entrance.

If you can't read Japanese no worries... remember to always push the top left corner button.

Fresh garlic to crush into your ramen

All counter seating...

...and a cozy little spot for a quick date.

House Gyoza... a bit on the boiled side... was just OK.

Can't quite remember how the soup tasted but there were nice fluffy pieces of fat floating around.

Not my favorite noodles... very plain and texture was similar to an instant pack of supermarket ramen.

I really didn't think much of the ramen here and of course I wasn't the only one as I check the foodie ranking score of a disastrous 2.74 points!  With all the ramen spots in Ikebukuro please please don't eat here unless you really need to eat bad ramen.  

You might have better luck at this tiny ramen stand in front of Ikebukuro Station

Shop: Bankara Ramen
Address J: 東京都豊島区南池袋1-17-3
Address E: Tokyo, Toshima-ku, Minami Ikebukuro 1-17-3

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

EKODA: Tiny Ise-Ya for some mochi sticks and rice balls!

Walking thru a tiny shotengai (shopping alley with tiny shops) in Ekoda and saw a small line under the orange tarp at this tiny Mochi/Onigiri shop... Just had to take a peek.

Inside there were sooo many varieties of Mochi and some cool looking shaped Mochi's.

Went for one Karashi-Konbu (spicy seaweed) because it was the first time I saw a spicy version.

And of course of my all time favorites An-Dango (green tea mochi balls with azuki bean paste topping) and for the 3rd item the Shoyu mochi balls (with a hint of sweetness).  

This bad boy was solid... stickier rice than the usual convenient stores and held its shape til the very end.  

Shoyu Dango... base is made of Shoyu but had a very nice sweetness to it.  You can always find this at any supermarket in the mochi/breads section.

And of course when in Japan you must eat Sushi, Ramen, Yakitori... AND a An-Dango mochi stick.  Everyone loves this and I've been a huge fan for a while.  The mochi was extremely soft and could barely hold its shape.

Didn't realize it but guess this wasn't a mom and pop shop but a franchise with branches all over the place.  Foodie ranking is a lowly 3.00 points so I guess its not a favorite among those in the know.  Watch out as there seem to be very little foreign traffic in this area and the gentlemen behind the counter will look at you in confusion... everything is written in Japanese.

Halloween Parade on 10/27 in this town if you have little ones... 

Shop: Iseya Ekoda Branch
Address J: 東京都練馬区栄町26-3
Address E: Tokyo, Nerima-ku, Sakaemachi 26-3

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

SAKURADAI: Ramen Jiro REVISITED for smaller than small portion noodles!

Ok... my entire summer in the US consisted of baking cookies, brownies and rice crispy treats thus I returned with an added 7 kilos to the waistline!  So... tonight my craving and the 650yen price point decided to put my diet on hold for a massive 1,500 calorie "small" sized Jiro Ramen!

Mailing list if you are interested.

Cold water is free but I highly suggest ordering some black tea to help wash down the heavy oily soup base.

I sat on the corner of the "L" shaped counter next the toilet and noticed boxes of special Jiro shoyu... plus do you see that clear plastic bag with the pink stuff in it?  Well thats the fat they melt into the soup base... An yes, if you want extra just mention it along with your addition of Garlic, size of veggies and say "abura" for melted fat topping.

When you are lined up outside one of the Jiro guys will take your order... The guy in front of me said "Sho-Sukuname" (Size Small Ramen - Smaller Portion)... So I followed with Sho-Yasai-Sukuname (Small with Small portion of boiled beggies).    Anyways seems he missed me saying "Yasai" and assumed I wanted a Small Ramen with Smaller portion of noodles.  Actually thank goodness... I was struggling to finish the small a few days ago.  Oh, I got the normal size of veggies pictured and garlic topping pictured here.

Can you see it... Now this fatty oil from pork lard pushes this tiny small ramen over 1,500 calories!

Now not ONLY did I have these 3 gigantic chunks of tender Char-Siu pork but below the noodles there were another 2 chunky pieces... waaaay to many for me and a struggle to finish.

The additional pieces I found below after finished the 3 on top.

Here's a video of some guy ordering the extra lard "abura" on top of his ramen!  oohh the calories!

At 5:45pm on a very rainy and cold Tuesday evening the entire L shaped counter was full.. but I only had to wait about 2-3 minutes before a spot opened up.  The customers here are all business and eat their ramen in a mad-dash.  Most looked like Ramen Otaku-boys and college students this night.  Ok, this will be my last venture to Jiro until I lose those added Pounds.

1,000yen an hour if you want to work part-time at Jiro!

Shop: Ramen Jiro 
Address J: 東京都練馬区桜台1-5-1
Address E: Tokyo, Nerima-ku, Sakuradai 1-5-1

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Monday, October 22, 2012

SHIMBASHI: Uokin Piccolo... a little treasue in the side streets amongst all the clutter that is Shimbashi

This is just a quick informative update as I wasn't at the restaurant long enough to enjoy many dishes.  After noticing a HUGE line at Its My Italian Pizzeria nearby I had to find a spot quickly for a quick dinner date... and while wandering the corridors of Shimbashi I happened upon Uokin Piccolo.

If you know Shimbashi then the word UOKIN will ring a definite bell.  They have some amazing Seafood and French shops in the area and all are incredibly reasonably priced.  Daily Specials menu here.  Oh, this spot had an incredibly high foodie score of 3.86pts.

Ordered the 580yen patte camagnyu and bird liver terinyu... yeah my spelling has got to be way off. 

Over 50 white and red wines to choose from.

Drinks... the wine and champagne come in regular glass drinks but the 580yen beers...

Arrive in tiny plastic cups... didn't quite expect this.  Guess its the low quantity high priced booze that allows for lower price points on the food.

Don't bother trying to wander inside unless you are very lucky as I was to get a seat for a limited 1.5hours.  Highly recommend a table for small groups or better yet if you are on a date the counter seats face the chefs at work... always a preference for me.  Some interior pics

Shop: UOKIN Piccolo
Uokin Group Website:
Address J: 東京都港区新橋3-18-2
Address E: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Shimbashi 3-18-2

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