Saturday, May 25, 2013

Wakaba

On our last day in Tokyo, we had some time to kill before leaving for the airport and so we went back to the Tsukiji Market area one last time.  Along the main street outside the market area are more food vendors in makeshift stalls selling sushi and noodle dishes.  It was just before 10am, yet most places were already packed with businessmen eating a late breakfast.  I spotted steaming bowls of fresh ramen being served by Wakaba and convinced Keith to stop so we could each get a bowl.

There was a small menu written on planks of wood hanging on the back wall, but nothing was in English and so we just pointed at what the guy was eating sitting at the counter and asked for 2.  An older gentleman nodded and turned to his big bowling pot to add in a bundle of noodles.  With precision, he made each bowl of ramen with soy sauce-based broth and topped with pork slices, scallions, and menma. Menma is a common topping for noodle soups, notably ramen, and is a Japanese condiment made from lactate-fermented bamboo shoots. The bamboo shoots are dried in the sun or through other means before the fermentation process.

We paid 600 JPY for each bowl - quite a bargain!  We then carefully carried the hot bowls of soup a few steps across the sidewalk to a makeshift stand they had set up.  Here, patrons can quickly stand and eat your food before running on to work or continue shopping.  Just return your empty bowl back to the man at the stand and you're all set.


The ramen was fresh and the broth was perfectly salty.  The noodles were crinkly and al dente.  We weren't sure what the menma was at first - I thought it was mushroom, but Keith could tell it was bamboo shoot.  They were good and gave a nice texture difference to the noodle soup.  If you want basic, authentic, delicious ramen then this place should not be missed. They close at 1:00pm but are open very early.

Total Rating: 3.85
Food: 3.5, Price: 5, Service: 3, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 4.5

What I ate:
Ramen

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