I’m here! After a long 11-hour flight without sleep and 2 hours on the bus to Shinjuku, I finally arrived at my brother’s house just in time for dinner. Struggling to stay awake, I managed to eat a plate of delicious chicken curry (thanks sis!) and was ready to call it a night…uh…maybe not. Knowing the best way to rapidly cure jet lag is to stay awake and not go to sleep early on the first night, my bro and I set out on bikes to do just that. Our first stop was Donki (the store with everything), where we looked to complete the shopping for our adventure next week. Then it was off to a local spanish tapas bar (I forget the name) to watch the Olympics and pound a few beers while we killed some time. No room for food here, but I did end up head-butting the butt of a pig that was hanging from the ceiling…don’t ask. It was an accident and no I was not drunk…haha. Our final stop was none other than Taishouken in Eifukucho. A seven-minute bicycle ride away, we navigated through the narrow streets of Tokyo to find a line of 15 people anxiously awaiting a late night slurp (just like us). You might think it’s crazy for so many people to crave a hot ramen on a hot and humid summer night, but that’s just the way it is…unconditional ramen love.
Unrelated to the Taishouken in Higashi Ikebukuro, Taishouken Eifukucho offers an attractive salary for men within the ages of 23-45. I’ve heard the selection/training process is rigorous, but the salary–at nearly $6,000/mo with plenty of benefits–is well worth it for any young man.
Chuuka-men: This bowl was huge!! For the first time I actually felt intimidated. After eating dinner and pounding a few beers, I wasn’t sure if I could do this but there was no turning back. With all respect, I was determined to finish the entire bowl. The piping-hot soup packed a peppery punch that aroused a tangy mixture of excellent flavors. It’s not your average shoyu…it’s better. But be careful, slurp too fast and you’ll end up with a burnt tongue like me (it was worth it). The toppings (chashu, menma, naruto, negi) are almost eclipsed by the sheer size of this bowl, but are great accompaniments. The memna is especially fresh with a perfect slunch (slushy crunch). The chashu is a bit on the dry side, but its flavors do not mess around. And for the noodles (honestly I think there are 3 portions inside), they were excellent! Since the bowl is huge they do become slightly soft towards the end so it’s important to slurp at a good pace. All in all, this was a great way to start off my trip.