Ramen is one of Japan’s most famous dishes: slow-cooked deeply savoury broth, bouncy noodles, and depending on the type of ramen, a variety of toppings usually including meltingly soft pork and soft-boiled egg.
It’s comfort food at its very best, and it’s easy to see why ramen bars have been springing up all over the capital in recent years – a big bowl of noodle soup seems to make everything better.
Here are 5 of the best places to get your ramen fix in London.
— Tonkotsu Bar&Ramen (@tonkotsulondon) July 28, 2015
Named after the lip-smacking, creamy ramen typical in Kyushu, Japan’s southern-most island, Tonkotsu make their rich, deep, meaty stock for their namesake dish by slowly cooking pork bones for up to 18 hours. Served with homemade bouncy noodles and topped with slices of melt-in-the-mouth pork belly, half a seasoned soft-boiled egg, menma, bean sprouts and spring onions, this is a soothing, soulful bowl that you are actively encouraged to slurp. A lunch deal including ramen and a beer is £8.95.
63 Dean Street, W1D 4QG
Arch 334, 1a Dunston Street, E8 4EB
382 Mare Street, E8 1HR
Selfridges & Co, 400 Oxford Street (14-seat ramen counter in the Foodhall)
Bankside opening in August 2015: 4 Canvey Street, SE1 9AN
Shoryu Ramen, recommended in the Michelin Guide 2014 and 2015, specialises in tonkotsu ramen from the Hakata district of Fukuoka city on the southern island of Kyushu. You can expect authentic thick, white, rich pork soup – cooked for over 12 hours at a rolling boil until perfectly emulsified – combined with motodare, a soy and herb base. Noodles have plenty of bounce and chew. Their signature tonkotsu comes topped with char siu barbecue pork belly, nitamago egg, kikurage mushrooms, spring onion, sesame, ginger, and nori seaweed.
3 Denman Street, W1D 7HA
9 Regent St, SW1Y 4LR
G3-5 Kingly Court, W1B 5PJ
33 Broadgate Circle, EC2M 2QS
19 Air Street, W1B 5AG (Shoryu Go)
Or check out the Shoryu Ramen Wagon at various events and festivals
— 3 Kinds of Ice (@3kindsofice) July 18, 2015
The home of ramen noodles in Soho, New York style ramen bar Bone Daddies don’t take reservations – so just turn up, take a seat and get stuck into a big bowl. Try the 20-hour pork bone broth in their Tonkotsu ramen, garnished with spring onion and chashu pork; the T22 with soy ramen, chicken and cock scratchings; or Tantanmen, a chicken bone broth with sesame, chilli, pork mince and bok choy – all served with Clarence Court egg, bamboo and bean sprouts. Kimchee ramen includes prawns, mussels, kimchee and chilli in chicken bone broth.
31 Peter St, W1F 0AR – bonedaddies.com
— Ippudo London (@IppudoLondon) June 12, 2015
Ippudo was founded in 1985 in Japan’s ramen capital of Hakata, and now has branches across the world – as well as over 80 stores in Japan. Try the Shiromaru Hakata Classic – original tonkotsu creamy pork broth with homemade thin noodles topped with pork loin chashu, sesame kikurage mushrooms, bean sprouts and spring onions. The Akamaru Modern version has Ippudo’s secret Umami Dama paste and fragrant garlic oil, or “Karaka” Spicy Men is also topped with spicy miso paste and sansho pepper, and there are also several vegetarian options.
3 Central Saint Giles Piazza, Saint Giles High Street, WC2H 8AG
Unit CR 28, Level Minus One, Crossrail Station and Retail Mall, 1 Crossrail Place, E14 5AR
— Frankie Murray (@frankieisswell) June 30, 2015
Kanada-Ya is an authentic Japanese ramen bar, specialising in delicious tonkotsu ramen. You can go for pork belly in the original ramen, or pork collar in the Chashu-Men, and then add on extras such as Hanjuka eggs. All noodles are cooked to order and you can choose your preferred texture – extra firm, firm, regular or soft. You can even order an extra portion of noodles for any remaining broth you may have. You will also find a range of Onigiri – premium Japanese rice balls wrapped in Nori.
64 St Giles High Street, WC2H 8LE
Main image: Shoryu Ramen