Senrigan (Ramen), Higashikitazawa

If you're a Ramen eater, I strongly recommend you go to this place: it's good, filling and fun. OK, it's a little out of the way and you will have to walk a little bit, but that resulting exercise might actually be necessary and beneficiary when looking at the amount of calories and food involved in that one bowl of noodles.

It took me a while to first enter this place, as the orange and yellow nameboard outside saying "Ramen Senrigan Ninniku" (Ninniku meaning garlic) made me think that there would be too much of that Dracula-killer in the soup. I still decided to give it a try one day, as I kept seeing people flocking in the place. Since then, I've been a fan. It's cheap (regular Ramen at ¥680), it's filling with its 300g worth of noodles and it's fun with all the mountain like toppings you can add for free.

You first buy your meal ticket at the vending machine. The choice is simple and limited: "Ramen" (¥680), "Ramen" supersized (¥780), "Buta Ramen" (Ramen with added Chinese-Style pork bbq Chashu at ¥850), "Buta Ramen" supersized (¥950), "Buta Dabulu Ramen" (even more Chashu! at ¥980) and finally the gigantic "Buta Dabulu Ramen" supersized (¥1080).
To make it easier for you, I'd recommend you go for the regular Ramen which will most probably largely satisfy your hunger.

The mountain of Moyashi

The regular Ramen's toppings consist of boiled Moyashi (bean sprout), Kyabetsu (Chinese cabbage) and Chashu. However, when the dish is almost prepared, the cook will call out your seat number (written in front of you on the counter) and ask you if you want some garlic in it.

Seat #3 waiting for the call

Check out the following video to see how that works and the impressive topping of Moyashi:

To which you can reply Nashi (for no thanks), Sukuname (for a little) and Onegaishimasu (for yes please)
You also have a choice of free toppings:
Yasai Mashi (literally More Vegies)
Abura (more fat)
Karame (stronger broth)
Kara-age (deep-fried Tempura batter Tenkatsu with hot chili powder)
Just ask for what you want, and they will add that on your bowl.

Regulars seem to go for Zenbu Kudasai (please top everything), but I tend to like my noodles simple, so I always only ask for Yasai-Mashi and Ninniku Sukuname to make myself feel better knowing that I did order "healthier" vegetables...
The result is colossal, as you can see it from the pictures.

The rather thick, almost milky-textured Tonkotsu(pork bone) and Shoyu based broth is very rich and surprisingly not garlic flavored. Add some garlic only if you like it and you want a little kick, as the soup is well good enough without. I have seen some customers down the whole artery-clogging soup, but I don't have the courage to imitate them as it's already tough enough to finish the ingredients...
The noodles are brown-colored (just like Sobas), quite thick at 3-4mm (not different from the Moyashi width) and with a good koshi (firmness). As you have to fight through 300g of them, you're pretty much full when you've finished chewing them.

The three thick slices of Chashu are wonderfully tender and melt in your mouth, if they haven't already disintegrated while sitting in the soup. They are a bit salty but the combination with the boiled Moyashi and Kyabetsu is good.

No explanations will come close to actually trying it, so if you're into Ramen, the detour is definitely worth it. For your information, "Okame" and "Ramen Yamate" are in the same street.

Senrigan is closed on Mondays and open the rest of the week
from 11:00am to 14:30pm, 17:00pm to 22:00pm Tuesday through to Saturday
from 11:00am to 14:30pm, 17:00 pm to 21:00pm Sunday and on National Holidays
Meguro-Ku, Komaba 4-6-8
It's about 500m from Higashi-Kitazawa (Odakyu Line) and Ikenoue (Inokashira Line), or 15-20mn walk from Shimokitazawa
Click here for a MAP


Anonymous said...

It's another Jiro-style ramen. Is it better than the Ramen Jiro honten?

frenchy said...

Absolutely, big time Jiro-style. A lot of people are saying that Jiro is better. The only Jiro I tried is the one in Kabukicho and that's at least 5 or 6 years ago so I can't really remember to be honest, though I think Jiro‘s soup felt greasier.

Anonymous said...

If you ever come to Singapore for a visit, do try the Sinjiro at this ramen joint called Menya Shinchan. It's another Jiro-style ramen, but without the generous servings of pork. For some reason, they're rather stingy with it.