Countless ramen joints have now penetrated the Philippine food scene and it looks like they’re here to stay. In Japan where they originated, only three ramen shops have been awarded the prestigious Michelin Star, one of which is Nakiryu.
You may first mistake Nakiryu as the ultimate snob. Located in a dark and quiet area of Tokyo, the shop only has 10 seats, and an order is only limited to one bowl of ramen per person. While the shop closes at 9PM, be ready to be shooed away earlier if they run out of broth. My family and I started lining up before 7PM and minutes later, they stopped accepting customers. Thank God we made the cut!
After almost two hours of waiting, it was our turn to eat. By this time, I felt like I could gobble up all of the remaining food in their kitchen. We were a group of six and we occupied more than half of the entire dining area.
As with traditional ramen Shops, there is a ticket machine. We hurriedly punched and paid for our orders, which we had already memorized after waiting for so long.
The hero product is called Tantanmen, a spicy Sichuan-inspired dish made of ground pork, chillies, and miso paste in red pepper soup. Nakiryu’s version is quite distinct. It has thin noodles, isn’t too spicy, is very creamy, and has a prominent peanut flavor. This dish won them their One Star Michelin and I must agree that it is well-deserved. The price for one bowl is 850 JPY (around Php400).
Other items we ordered:
Chilled Tofu and Shirasu Fish with Sesame Paste
This was the first dish served to us and when my Aunt tasted it, she blurted out YUMMY! By then I felt it was worth the wait. The tofu is of top quality and the combination of the anchovy-like fish and scallions with the creamy sesame dressing makes this dish so divine.
Shrimp and Pork Wonton
The skin is thin and delicate, and the filling has a well-balanced flavor. This is one exquisite dish!
Boiled Chicken Gyoza
They have truly mastered the art of making wonton and this one has a silky thin wrapper.
Soy Based Ramen with Soy Dipped-Egg, Shrimp Wonton, and Grilled Pork Canton Style
Out of all of the dishes, this is the one I found underwhelming. The broth is ordinary, plus the pork is almost raw and has a weird gelatine texture.
Ramen fanatics like me would agree that we each have our own criteria on what makes ramen superb. As for me, it would be a thick and creamy broth, very firm noodles, a unique flavor, and a burst of umami. Nakiryu checks all of these boxes, so I had one happy tummy!
Do check out Nakiryu when you travel to Tokyo. I’m secretly hoping that they branch out soon, so more people can get to taste their high quality Tantanmen.
2 Chome−34−4 ＳＫＹ南大塚, Minamiotsuka, Toshima City, Tokyo, Japan