Tachikawa Mashi Mashi challenges the concept of what exactly ramen is.
Men is the Japanese word for noodles, and if you’re just learning it for the first time, you might have a retroactively lit bulb in your head when you realize that’s where the “masculine” part of the word “Ramencomes from. So imagine our surprise when we found it a ramen restaurant in Tokyo that serves ramen without men.
The Ramen rice without noodlesor Men-nashi Ramen Rice in Japanese, recently appeared on the menu at Tachikawa Mashi Mashi, which has two branches in Tokyo. Well, technically, it appeared on the vending machine at the entrance of the restaurant where you buy your meal ticket, with a big red arrow that you can’t miss pointing to the order button.
▼ 麺なしラーメンライス = Ramen rice without noodles
Tachikawa Mashi Mashi specializes in the so-called “Jiro inspired ramen,” a type of noodle popularized by the Ramen chain Jiro and her especially enjoyable guilt ramen this is filled with pork, garlic and the delicious oils that come from soaking them together in broth. Our great reporter Mr. Sato is a big fan of Jiro-inspired ramen, but sometimes finds eating a whole bowl a bit too heavy for him, so when he paid for 1,100 yen (US$7.90) ramen rice without noodles, he expected it to be a way to savor taste in a less satiating form.
This expectation turned out to be half right.
Sure, there’s no noodles in this bowl, but that doesn’t mean it’s a small portion of food. You get a hefty stack stewed chashu pork, boiled shabu shabu pork, a whole bunch of chives and a ton of chives and bean sprouts.
Really, Mr. Sato cannot overestimate the number of bean sprouts. While his eyes immediately caught the meat, as he ate it felt like he was eating a bowl of vegetable soup with ramen broth.
Speaking of broth, it turned out not to be as heavy and greasy as it seemed at first glance, and the presence of yuzu The rind (of a Japanese citrus fruit) is an elegant touch that makes the taste both refreshing and invigorating.
You can put the rice directly into the broth, but Mr. Sato also recommends an elegant approach of transferring some of the additives to the rice. Bean sprouts in particular soak up a lot of the flavorful broth but still retain enough crunchiness to contrast with the soft, fluffy rice.
So while ramen without men may sound strange, it turns out to be a great idea, just like last time Tachikawa Mashi Mashi swapped something else for noodles in his ramen.
Tachikawa Mashi Mashi (Kokubunji Branch) / 立川マシマシ国分寺店
Address: Tokyo-to, Kokubunji-shi, Honcho 2-31
Open 11:00-15:00, 17:00-22:00