Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ôita Hôraiken (大分宝来軒), Takadanobaba

What: Ramen (Tonkotsu)
Recommendation: Karami-tonkotsu (tonkotsu with chili miso paste)
Verdict: More than satisfactory (3.7)

(JR Takadanobaba station, Waseda exit: Head down Waseda dôri towards Waseda, and you'll find it on your left hand side after 100-150 meters. Map)

The story
None, really. Just felt hungry for ramen and was in the neighborhood. Had noticed this place, for its ambitious claim to serve "Japan's best tonkotsu ramen". So, somewhat skeptical, I entered.

The place
Cozy, Japan-retro-ish place with big, fat handwriting splattered all over the walls to create a genki sort of souther, Kyushu atmosphere. One thing which sets this place apart, is the fact that they bring you warm hand towels (o-shibori) when you sit down. Could get used to that

The noodles
Rich, full soup with thin, hoso-men noodles. Soup's very good; the mild, heavy tonkotsu broth balanced by spicy chili miso paste (if you order the kara-mi tonkotsu). Noodle texture is not quite top-notch but definitely ok. The hanjuku egg (which I ordered extra) was just the right, soft texture.

The verdict
Not quite a foodgasm, but plenty satisfaction. Oh, and it makes Ippûdô down the road taste like dishwashing water by comparison. Best tonkotsu in Baba so far.

But "Japan's best tonkotsu ramen"...?


the orientalist said...


"Well, put it behind you - perhaps with a nice, steaming bowl of ramen? Check out my new recommendation at ;)" ???

Cheeky so-and-so. My brilliant, entertaining, wildly appreciated, topical blog ( is no place for advertising your own.

The nerve of some people.

kaffepop said...

Ops, very sorry about that, Ms Orientalist :p

Nationwide said...

Just discovered your blog. loving it. will read more. keep slurping.

kaffepop said...

Hey,nationwide! Thanks for that - unfortunately I'm back in Norway for the time being, so I won't be able to go treasure hunting for a while yet... Will try to put in a few more ramen places (and maybe also some good izakayas and stuff) that I haven't covered here yet.

ideru said...

wow.. another ramen lover... yey..

Steve said...

Great blog! I'm coming back to Japan for two weeks and can't wait to get stuck into some ramen...I've missed it a lot!

S Lloyd said...

Discovered ur blog whilst seraching for Ramen eateries recs in Tokyo. What would you consider in your personal top 5 ramen restaurants in Tokyo?