I love ramen, but I do not have a lot of it when I travel to Japan because it is not really conducive for business activities. But whenever I have the opportunity, I will go for a ramen. And this one I have been looking forward for a long time because it features my favourite ingredient – gyutan (beef tongue).
Where’s Tokyo Ramen Street
It is located inside Tokyo Station, one of the biggest station in Japan with over 100 shops on 1F and B1F. There is an area on the basement called “Tokyo First Avenue”, where the Tokyo Ramen Station is. Just a minute walk on the right of Yaesu South Exit of Tokyo Station, and you will find a corner with only ramen shops.
It has 8 great ramen shops, all are so famous that there are often lines at lunch and dinner time. You can see information posters around the street, with English information about each shop as well as the procedure for ordering.
Run by Mr. Chiba, the head of the Japan Ramen Association, it’s no surprise the the ramen dished up here is good. Specialising in shio (salt) ramen topped with Sendai’s beef tongue steak.
You have to go through the motion: Firstly you queue, it is a popular store. Then you order from the vending machine, remember to have change with you as it does not take denomination larger than ¥1000. The machine will dispense Wrigley chewing gum size coupons for each component of your order – ramen, extra ingredients, gyoza, drink. Then you wait for your turn to sit down – if you have a big group, good luck. Just sit when a seat is available. Finally, give the staff your coupons, they will prepare your meal and send them to you.
The unique texture of beef tongue, lots of scallions, and flavourful shio soup blended nicely. Beef tongue steak is usually expensive, but you can try it with ramen for 1000 yen. There is a cream and garlic paste dropped into the middle which blends in quickly, but if you try a bit straight from the center you can get a deliciously rich mouthful to start.
And what’s the best accompaniment to ramen? Gyoza, of course. These are competently assembled gyoza, but nothing to shout for. Not the best “skins” which were brittle and plastic-ky. The filling was much too salty and a bit on the dry side.
If you are a big eater, order an extra portion of noodles instead, you would want to finish the soup that come with the ramen.
Kizo Shio Ramen (Tokyo Ramen Street)
1-9-1 | Tokyo Station B1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda 100-0005, Tokyo Prefecture