The good thing about staying in the Shinjuku area is that you’re never far away from the action – lots of shopping, blazing neon lights and the never-ending hordes of people. And of course, with the number of restaurants and eateries opened till late, you’ll never go hungry. A short stroll from our hotel brought us to Tonchin in the Kabukicho area. And nestled in Tokyo’s red-light district of strip clubs, bars and pachinko parlours is the best ramen we’ve ever tasted.
Let me first say that The Hubs and I don’t particularly like ramen. We don’t mind a bowl every now and then but we’re not crazy about it. I mean, it’s just soupy noodles. The only reason we headed down to Tonchin was because with no sleep on the flight, all we wanted was a simple dinner and to call it an early night. The original plan was to go hunt down Otafuku – a restaurant that has been serving oden for more than a century from the same pot of broth (!!). But I was really too sick to muster the energy. In fact, I was ready to give up on Tonchin as well as it took a while to find the shop. Thank goodness for The Hubs who persisted. In fact, throughout the trip, he was the one who was able to hunt down all our recommended eats. Very useful this one -which is why I bring him along for trips 🙂
Tonchin serves 3 different types of broth – fish-based, miso and my fave – tonkotsu. To describe tonkotsu as just pork bone broth is an understatement. Made with crushed pork bones, the broth is creamy, sinfully rich and has bits of fat floating in it. Tonchin does it well with thick, springy noodles and melt-in-your-mouth pieces of pork. Mmmmm …. My only regret is I ordered a small. By the time I slurped up every last morsel, it seemed a little greedy to order a second bowl, especially with a queue forming outside the shop. The Hubs ordered the fish-based broth and loved it! He also cleverly went with a medium-sized bowl.
. Fish-based broth .
. Tonkotsu broth with pieces of pork that melt in your mouth .
Tonchin takes their orders through a vending machine like most ramen shops in Japan. Everything is in Japanese but friendly staff will help you along. It’s the same price (680 yen) whether you order the small, medium or large bowl. * Dang! Why didn’t I go for the large? *
Directions: 0021 1-11-10 1F Shinjuku Kabukicho (Open: 11am – 4am)
Situated on the main drag of Kabukicho, behind KOMA theatre and right near the building with the ape on it. You can’t miss the ape. Shop sign is in English.