Food & Drink | TOKYO FOOD FILE

Homemade Ramen Muginae: These noodles are well worth the wait

by Robbie Swinnerton

Contributing Writer

All the best restaurants require considerable outlay. Usually that means a hefty dent in your bank balance. At Homemade Ramen Muginae the demand is not on your pocketbook but your time.

Just reaching this simple, bright, nine-seat noodle counter entails a trek out to nether Omori. And then, once you’re there, the wait on the street outside is often as much as an hour. It’s worth every minute.

For Muginae’s taciturn noodle master, Akihiro Fukaya, ramen is not a food that can be hurried. He prepares two types: each is exceptional, not just for the balance and depth of flavor but for the quality of the ingredients.

He makes his noodles in-house daily. He knows the provenance of the whole chickens and the niboshi (dried sardines) he uses to prepare his soups, and personally blends the shoyu he seasons them with. Better yet, he uses zero chemical additives.

His signature Shoyu ramen is deep, rich, hearty, warming. His Nibora — that’s short for niboshi ramen — is lighter but equally satisfying. Both are available in tokusei (special) versions with additional ajitama (soft-boiled egg) and shrimp wanton.

Fukaya even stocks craft beer (Shiga Kogen). Muginae more than lives up to its slogan: “Our passion for ramen makes the town a better place.”

Open daily 11:30 a.m-2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. till sold out, open weekends and holidays 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; ramen from ¥780; English not spoken

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