Ever since my first trip to Japan, I’ve discovered the amazing alternative to ramen – TSUKEMEN. What is this? Basically tsukemen is ramen lor with their broth and noodles served separately, then dipped and eaten. The broth of a tsukemen tends to be richer and more concentrated, to the consistency such that it’s kinda like a sauce. Did I make it sound unappetizing? Hmm.
I had my first ever tsukemen at Rokurinsha and it was probably the best ramen experience I ever had. I vowed to have tsukemen when I was back in Japan this time round and a survey from Instagram brought me to… FUUNJI! Thanks guys!
Where is it?
While a lot of other blogs mentioned that fuunji is just a stone’s throw away from Shinjuku station, it was maybe a 3-4 stones throw away ah. But it’s definitely not hard to find from Shinjuku’s JR station! Here are the directions:
Editor’s note: wow I wrote the above paragraph like a month ago, I forgot what I want to write here, so pls pardon the incoherence.
When you’re exiting from the JR exit (green color one).. I) if you’re on Newoman side, head left towards the less happening side of the area; II) if you’re opposite Newoman, head right.
Then, walk straight down all the way, until you pass by another ulu Shinjuku station exit (navigate using google maps), it’s about a 8 to 10 mins walk, turn left, and walk a bit more until you see this blue color sign:
Most of you will get really excited when you see this and it looks like it doesn’t have a queue. You’re probably 2% right. Because 98% of the time, if you were to look across the road, the queue will be on the other side of the road.
I really love how most ramen place in Japan has that exclusive touch to it with its limited seating and personal touch with the chef preparing the ramen. At Fuunji, the interior looks like that:
Look at that snaking queue behind the diners – too close for comfort. But you’ll soon realize that if you’re the ones eating, you wouldn’t feel anything because by then you’d be too engrossed and mesmerized by your ramen.
How to order your ramen?
Queue till you reach the machine where you pay and place your orders. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture because it’s super cramped. But one thing for sure, you need to get your tickets before you continue to wait in line!
Then you’ll have to continue to queue and wait for your turn. If you’re here with relatively big groups, you might be split up because you would be expected to occupy the space that has just been vacated.
We were lucky enough to sit in front to watch chef work his magic on the ramen.
What did we order?
Ok actually there were only 2 things to order – ramen or tsukemen (dipping ramen).
1. Tsukemen – named as Special Dipping Ramen on the machine (¥1,000, S$11.95)
Nah, just eat the noodle. Haha! Even though it’s just noodles, can you guys take some time to appreciate that plumpness of the noodle, it’s like when you chew into it, there’s this added moisture together with the broth it’s being dipped into.
This is THAT highly raved tsukemen, within that unassuming broth, consists of the creamy, umami chicken broth with a slight hint of fishy essence (in a good way), tender pieces of pork, bamboo shoots to soak up all the umami goodness and our all time favorite Ajitama egg.
Well.. the word fishy doesn’t really float many of our boats. That was exactly what I thought when I read reviews before visiting BUT this subtle addition packed on pounds of how the broth tasted. That umaminess and rich, unique flavor was unrivaled, trust me. You can’t even taste that much of the fishyness. Together with those qq noodles, this was definitely a match in heaven.
I can see why so many of you rave about this relatively tiny ramen joint, because I’m up on the bandwagon as well.
2. Special Ramen (¥950, S$11.35)
This was their Special Ramen, which was well… I didn’t think it was any special except for it being a more watered down version of the tsukemen.
We preferred the former to latter because of its richness and also cause the Ramen had more of that fishy flavor in the mix.
Difference between the special and normal Ramen? It’s the same bowl of broth, only that the special one has more toppings in it!
In conclusion, if you have to choose one place for that authentic, delicious tsukemen experience in tokyo, there’s only one place to go. Ok lah, I think Rokurinsha is quite legit as well.
How to get here?
2-14-3, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan (JR Shinjuku Station South Exit)
Japan, 〒151-0053 Tokyo, Shibuya 代々木2-14-3 北斗第一ビル 1F
Can just key in fu-unji on google maps.
Monday to Saturday: 11am to 3pm, 5 to 9pm