Long life (and longing for) noodles in Tokyo (and Seattle)

It’s New Year’s eve in Tokyo, and traditionally a time to eat noodles to ensure a long and healthy life.

The noodle of choice would be toshikoshi (year-bridging) soba, but this year (I’ve spent six of the last seven New Year eves in Tokyo), I’ve been invited for fine dining in a  French restaurant. So, as a substitute, ramen experiences will have to suffice.

Tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen seems to be most popular in the States, with Samurai Noodle cashing in on the craze in Seattle. But what we’re missing is the wide variety you can find in Japan. Armed with my ramen map from the Hyatt Regency Tokyo, I’ve been exploring the many ramen shops in the Shinjuku area of the city. Pictured is a version from Menya Musashi, featuring a stock with a blend of chicken stock, fish stock, pork bones, and konbu. It had a soy sauce taste, with a seafood influence, and the noodles were slightly thicker than most.

Other options are basic soy sauce, salt, burnt negi (like green onions, but with better flavor), and even a red chile version with ma po tofu flavor; I’m craving that spicy one, but not sure if I can squeeze it in before my bus ride to the airport for my flight home. If not, it’s something to look forward to in a future visit, and a reminder of the potential yet realized in Seattle and the States. May our lives be filled with more noodle options in the future, and may the new year be full of life and longevity for all of us!

Cross-posted on Examiner.



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