Tukumo Ramen 九十九ラーメン

One of the first specialty ramen shops that was recommended to me by a good friend here in Tokyo was Tukumo ramen in Ebisu. It took me a while to go try it, but it definitely stood out as one of the more unique ramen experiences in Japan.

Most people I've spoken to say that ramen in Japan is very heavy flavored, which come as a surprise if you think about it. For the most part, Japanese food can be very light and healthy (think sushi for example). But a lot of their food are very heavy and oily, such as tonkotsu, tempura, curry, and ramen definitely makes that list. And here at Tukumo, the ramen won't win any awards for being healthy.

Their ramen are very flavorful, and here, the soup base really stands out and makes them special. First off, they have a signature "Tukumo ramen", which is what I tried. Then there is a shouyu based ramen, a miso based ramen, and finally, one I have yet seen anywhere else, the "cheese" ramen. Yeah, this ramen is topped with a huge serving of paramsean cheese that is added to the miso based soup, and it will have enough sodium to last you a month. They also have seasonal ramen such as dan-dan men, and with all sorts of toppings such as corn, negi, egg, etc., there is something here that is bound to please you.

The "Tukumo ramen" was very good, the noodles didn't exactly do it for me, but here, the charshu and soup really made up for it. It was perhaps one of the best charshu I've ever had, and the soup I could literally die for. What really made this one miss the boat was the noodles, and perhaps my preference for hakata style noodles really did them in. My friend who tried the "cheese" ramen said it was really good, but you'll find yourself drinking lots of water because it can be a bit too salty. Even then, the "cheese" ramen does sell out almost everyday, because a few times when we get there later in the evening, there are some disappointed customers that didn't make it in time.

Overall, this is a place I do still go back to once in a while, especially when I am in the mood for good charshu. The atmosphere here is great, and the servers are super friendly. It makes the overall experience a really great one, and one that I recommend anyone to experience at least once if you are in the Tokyo area. Easy access from Ebisu station, and there is another shop in Chiba if you are near that area. There is usually a line which is a good sign that this is a place that is quite popular. Go try it out for yourself.

City: Tokyo, Japan (also in Chiba)
Location: Ebisu, 5 minutes walk from the station
Hours: 11am - 5am
Order system: Menu
Available in English? I think they do, will confirm

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