You can't go to the land of ramen and not have tsukemen. And what better place to have it than Rokurinsha on Ramen Street in First Avenue Tokyo Station?
We arrived at Rokurinsha a bit before 10am, just as breakfast service was winding down. The restaurant didn't open again for lunch until 11am, so CK and I wandered around First Avenue Tokyo Station, buying snacks in Okashi (confectionary/sweets) Land and browsing through the beyond adorable shops on Character Street.
The shops on Character Street didn't open until 10am and surprisingly, there were quite a few people standing around waiting for the storefronts to raise their metal gates:
We didn't waste too much time shopping though as we knew we had to get back to Rokurinsha well before 11am to do some waiting of our own:
The restaurant wasn't all that big, so we were lucky to squeeze in with the first batch of people once it opened:
Before we could be directed to a seat, we had conquer the vending machine right at the entrance. It was a little daunting since it was our first time and there was a whole line of people waiting right behind us, but we managed to figure it out somehow. We made our selection, inserted our money, and then the machine spit out two tickets for us to hand to the staff once we were seated:
Rokurinsha only offers tsukemen (dipping noodles), so the only choices you have to make are what additional toppings you want to put in it.
We went all out and got the tokusei (special recommendation) tsukemen, which cost 1060 yen ($10.60):
What set it apart from the regular tsukemen was the addition of shredded pork and an egg.
And what a beautiful egg it was:
We didn't feel right waltzing into Rokurinsha and sharing a bowl of noodles, so we also ordered a basic tsukemen (830 yen or $8.30):
The best part of the tsukemen was by far the noodles. They're a bit thicker than you would expect and have the most perfect texture. For tsukemen noobs, the way to eat it is simple. Just take some noodles, dip it into the thick, hot broth, and then slurp away.
When we finished our noodles, we were asked whether we would like to add some soup into our remaining broth. One of the soup options had yuzu in it, which was super interesting to me, but we politely declined as it was already a struggle to finish the noodles. We had no stomach space left for anything more.
I regret it though. I really wish I had said screw it to my painfully stuffed stomach and asked for the yuzu soup. I definitely need to go back one day to make it right.
All of you out there! Don't make the same mistake I did. Get the soup. Channel your inner Shaun T, dig deeper, and eat through the pain. And if you think eating in Japan is always expensive, think again. A meal at Rokurinsha is very affordable and the portion sizes are quite large.
Oh, and the noodles? Perfection. You'll leave satisfied.
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