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The noren half-curtain across the entrance, the compact seven-seat counter, the steam wafting up from the simmering vats — this is the DNA for thousands of hole-in-the-wall noodle joints across Japan. But Ayu Ramen stands out in one crucial respect. Every bowl here comes topped with a portion of its namesake fish, ayu.

When freshly caught, ayu have flesh so soft and perfumed they are known in English as “sweetfish.” Here, they are dried and grilled, giving them a richer flavor and a firm, almost confit-like texture. In combination with the delicate noodles and light, clear fish-stock broth, it works beautifully.

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