5am Ramen offers great Tokyo Ramen Tours, which any ramen fan must try.
The last time I visited Tokyo, I went on the tour myself and got to meet Frank, the man behind 5am Ramen and Tokyo Ramen Tours, and I got to try many different amazing types of ramen. Let me tell you what it was like.
I’m sure many of you know that ramen is one of my favorite types of Japanese food. As a matter of fact, it’s right up there with sushi. I just can’t seem to decide which one I like more. Because of this, I wanted to go on a Tokyo ramen tour that would enable me to try many different types of ramen at once and that would teach me a lot about the history of ramen and the way it is prepared. I was so happy when I found out about 5am Ramen and Tokyo Ramen Tours, and now I finally got the chance to try the tour myself.
Frank contacted me, and we arranged a meeting spot near the iconic Hachiko statue in Shibuya. He mentioned that I was probably going to eat quite a lot of ramen that night so I better go easy on the lunch. And I did just that. After meeting each other, we made our way to the first ramen shop, which was located really close to the Shibuya Station. The staff welcomed us and showed us to our seats.
Frank told me that this first stop would be a ramen restaurant specializing in classic ramen types: Miso, Shio, and Shoyu ramen. That means miso, salt, and soy sauce based ramen. I got to try four different types of ramen, since there were two of us on the tour, my friend and me.
Usually, you have four options, and each can pick two. We opted to pick different ones and share them. These are, of course, not full-size bowls, as that would be too much to eat over the course of the tour. Rather, they are smaller tasting bowls, but still, there’s quite a lot there, so you’ll definitely be full after the tour.
Here, Frank explained his concept of the tour. We would sit and eat the ramen he presented us with while he told us about the specific aspects of ramen. In this case, it was about the history of ramen, how ramen originated from Chinese noodle dishes, came to Japan, and spread.
All this was really interesting to me, especially since I’m a fan of history and I love ramen. So it was really nice eating this delicious food and listening to Frank talk about this topic. All of the ramen I tried in this shop were delicious, and it was quite hard for me to pick the best one, but if I had to choose, I would go with Miso.
After we were done in this ramen shop, we went on a shorter walk to the other side of Shibuya, where our next ramen shop was located. This second stop of the tour would specialize in Tonkotsu Pork Bone ramen, which originated from Fukuoka in the south of Japan.
Frank once again explained everything about this type of ramen and how it relates to other ramen, and all the interesting things we needed to know. He talked about how ramen has developed in recent times, what are the most recent trends in the development of ramen, and what we can expect in the future. We discussed what sort of interesting new tastes might come up.
Once again, we tried four different types of ramen. One was the original Pork Bone Tonkotsu Ramen, followed by a similar one but with the inclusion of chili, which made it look red, which was quite surprising since I never saw red ramen before.
But that was not the end of the surprises. There was also a black one and a green one. The black one includes squid ink and garlic oil, which gives it its black color, and the green one includes basil. They were all delicious, but I preferred the original one!
After finishing our meal there, we made our way to the third and final ramen shop. This one specialized in curry ramen. I’m usually not a huge fan of curry, but I was still looking forward to trying this out.
At many ramen shops, you need to order ramen from a ticket machine. So during the visit to this shop, Frank was kind enough to explain how this whole procedure goes. And he told us one big tip, which I’m now going to tell you – if you’re ever in a ramen shop with a ticket vending machine and you don’t know what you’re going to press, go for the top left button because it’s usually the staple dish of the shop. You can’t go wrong with it.
The shop was interesting because here I got to try the soupless ramen. Yes, you heard me right. There is a type of ramen without any soup. It just has a thick sauce at the bottom, so you need to mix it really well. In this shop Frank told us a bit more about what makes ramen ramen. It’s a really interesting question and we had a nice dicussion about it.
Frank was an excellent host during this entire tour. He explained everything perfectly and was always quick to answer in detail any questions I might have had. He suggested the best things to order in each of the shops, as well as the best order in which to try all the ramen. He gave us many interesting tips and tricks that improved our future ramen experience. All the food I had was delicious, and I’m really happy I went on the tour.
I highly recommend it and I’m sure you will not be disappointed if you are not a ramen fan. And if you are a ramen fan, this Tokyo ramen tour should be on your must-try list when you plan your trip to this city. So if this looks interesting to you, make sure to check out the Tokyo Ramen Tours website to learn more.