Osaka Metro’s Ramen Tour– Part I:
The Battle of Orthodox vs. Latest Sensation
Written by: ひこまる（Hikomaru）
● The Pursuit of The Best Ramen
A comfort food for the Japanese, ramen is a staple in Japanese food. The wide variety of flavors—from tonkotsu (pork bone broth) to shoyu (soy-based broth)—excites many around the world.
In this issue, a ramen connoisseur who is on a constant lookout for good ramen takes us to two of the best ramen shops on Osaka Metro and presents classic chuka soba as well as ramen of the new age. Let’s dig in!
● Strike-ken: Old School Ramen Loved by All
My top recommendation for traditional ramen is served at Strike-ken. Located just two minute walk from Tenjimbashisuji 6-chome Station and steps off of the shop filled Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street, Strike-ken is super accessible. Look for the bright yellow storefront that can be easily seen some 100 meters away. Its convenient location allows you to enjoy a bowl of ramen to finish off the night right before catching the last train. If only there was a shop like this in my neighborhood…I’m actually jealous.
Their signature dish is called “straight” (780 yen, regular.) It’s classic plain chuka soba—an old school name for ramen—presented with traditional toppings such as a seasoned boiled egg, seaweed, greens, a slice of naruto fish cake with a pink swirl. The broth made from dried sardines and chicken bones is somewhat nostalgic and delightful. The owner wanted to make ramen that everyone would love, traveled around the country to taste all kinds of ramen, and finally arrived at this flavor. Take a bite and it will make you want to applaud the owner for his choice of dashi broth, noodles, ingredients, and even the cooking method.
The number one reason I fell in love with this ramen is its simple yet powerful flavor. You can taste the umami and the richness of the ingredients that were cooked with care and no unnecessary extra frills. The broth is perfected beyond perfection—you can’t help but go aah in delight as it hits the palate. There’s no way you’d waste even a drop of that broth.
On the other spectrum of the menu, “sinker”—a spin-off of the Japanese word “shinkakei” which refers to food that have evolved from existing food—combines tori paitan (white chicken bone broth) and shellfish broth and is full of umami. Top it with seemingly strange ingredients for ramen like cabbage and red onion, and this new creation has quite a different flavor than the plain “straight” ramen.
● Fukuryu Ramen Wadachi : Initiator of Espuma Craze
A recent trend in Osaka’s ramen world is espuma style ramen, in which the broth is whipped to create a soft and fluffy touch. Fukuryu Ramen Wadachi Hommachi Main Store, located just two minute walk from Hommachi Station, is the source of this new sensation. The quality of this ramen shop is recognized by the Michelin Guide, which included Fukuryu Ramen Wadachi Hommachi Main Store on its Bib Gourmand list in 2018, only 3 years after opening. Even non ramen fans should try their ramen if they are in the area.
The characteristics of their Tokusei (special) Fukuryu Ramen (900 yen) is the double foam finish. The soup that combines chicken bone broth with broth made from pork back bones and dried sardines is mixed in a blender until creamy. The dish is finished off with fluffy yuzu flavored espuma topping across the soup. This whipped cream like foam provides fluffy and mild yuzu flavor in your mouth—apparently, whipping subdues the sourness of the citrus fruit, allowing it to create changes in flavor as it’s mixed in with the broth and other ingredients. You can get extra espuma for 100 yen.
Chashu (roasted pork) is perfectly cooked to rare—crisp and browned on the outside and moist on the inside. The master spends a lot of time cooking chashu with great care and affection—as if he’s taking care of his own offspring—and many return to taste it again and again. Order with your ramen a chashu-don (250 yen,) a rice bowl topped with this chashu and espuma sauce, and you’re guaranteed to be fulfilled both in your belly and in your mind.
As spelled out next to the front door, this shop’s motto is to bring joy to food. The idea to whip the broth came about because of their desire for customers to “feel” the flavor and joy of their ramen. It makes sense—I could clearly see chef’s hospitality and playfulness in the presentation and the flavors of his food. This unique ramen is a must try—it fulfills not only the stomach but also the heart of the diner!
● The Way of Ramen Continues with Osaka Metro♪
As the food capital of Japan, Osaka has so many varieties of ramen that I’d love to show you but simply can’t in a single blog post. They are so good that you wouldn’t mind making a train trip to go eat. I sincerely hope you will enjoy Osakan ramen when you are here in Osaka. As long as there’s good ramen, Osaka Metro will take you there!
>>Part II is here!
[Access] About 2 mins walk from Exit 12 at Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome Station.
[Hours] 11am - 1am (until 11pm on Sundays)
[Closed] Open Daily (may close occasionally)
[Access] About 2 mins walk from Exit 27 at Hommachi Station Station.
[Hours] 11am – 3pm, 6 - 10pm
[Closed] Open Every Day (except for New Year holidays)
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