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For All the Ramen Freaks : TATSUNO-YA & WAKURA @Shinjuku

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

I've visited more than a dozen ramen shops in SHINJUKU, and yet there are dozens more on my list. Every shop is rigorously inspected by ramen freaks from around the nation and has proudly earned a high reputation.

One that is widely supported by ramen fans, especially those from Asia, is TATSUNO-YA in West Shinjuku. This is a Tonkotsu ramen shop which originates in Fukuoka, Kyushu region. Actually, it's not unique to find a Tonkotsu ramen shop in this city where every type of ramen representing each region competes with each other for the highest acclaim of the capital.

Tatsuno-ya is not one of the kinds that is normally seen in town. It has a special dish exclusively served here and enthusiastically supported by the regulars. That is "Tsukemen Motsu", or cold ramen noodles with seared giblets in a dipping sauce. A nutty & roasty flavour seeps out from well-seared pork giblets into the sauce, for which ramen lovers have an endless appetite.

It only takes minutes to clear your tsukemen plate, and this is not the end of the experience. A complimentary handful of steamed rice will be thrown into the soup remaining in the bowl, which instantly turns into a savoury rice porridge, so you can extend the joy as far as the last spoonful.

If you favour a more authentic Tonkotsu ramen, I recommend WAKURA, in Kabuki-cho. This shop is open 24 hours, on normal days before COVID-19, and is full at 4-5am with youngsters who need fuel after a big night out.

The menu is simple; a basic ramen and some options of toppings. But your choice doesn't stop there. Hakata ramen's specialty is the hardness of the noodles. They are so thin that they become very soft after being boiled for just 60 seconds. It's good for some people who live their lives calmly, just go for soft-boiled. For some others like you, whose days are rough & challenging, the choice of ramen should be hard-boiled. Only 2-5 seconds make noodles hard as steel, then they become less hard after 10-15 seconds.

It's completely your choice how long you want them to boil, now that you have two chances to order your preference. You're strongly recommended to order 'Kaedama' or another helping of noodles. Just shout out 'Kaedama!' and throw a ¥100 coin to the staff, then freshly boiled noodles will be in front of you in seconds.

After visiting those two shops, I concluded that the key to thoroughly enjoying the ramen experience is leaving enough soup for rice porridge, Kaedama or whatever follows afterwards. When it's your turn to visit this ramen city, keep my advice in your mind and ENJOY!

How long would you like to boil the noodle?

2 sec. Konaotoshi: Dusting off powdered flour

5 sec. Harigane: Hard as steel

15 sec. Katamen: Hard

30sec. Kihon: Basic

45sec. Yawamen: Soft

60sec. Choyawa: Very soft

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