Mendokoro Honda | 麺処 ほん田
Style: Shoyu, Shio, Gyokai & Tsukemen
Bowl to Crush: Koumi Tori-dashi Tokusei Ramen (香味鶏だし特製ラーメン)
Honda commands respect throughout the Tokyo ramen world. The head shop has occupied a corner in Higashi Jujo since 2008 and still draws lines every day — pretty impressive in a city of fads of fast turnover. It has been featured in Tokyo magazines and food shows. There was even a Honda-inspired instant ramen available in Japanese convenience stores a while back.
The shop’s master, Honda-san, serves shoyu, shio and tonkotsu-gyokai ramen, as well as tsukemen. The presentation in these bowls is fabulous. The ceramic bowls themselves have a unique pattern that is instantly recognizable to hardcore ramen junkies. On our last visit, we asked Honda-san for his recommendation and he said customers tend to split evenly between shoyu and shio when it comes to ramen. But you can’t really go wrong at Honda — just follow your mood; whatever you order will be excellent — but we would probably recommend the tokusei shoyu ramen for first-timers.
With any ramen order, you’ll be asked to choose between hosomen (thin, straight noodles) or temomi men, which are broad, flat noodles that the master shapes by pounding them with his fist into the counter (the tsukemen noodles are entirely different, however). Both noodle varieties come from Kokoro No Aji Shokuhin, the same legit noodle maker that supplies shops such as tsukmen legend Tomita. They taste entirely homemade.
The soup is a niboshi shoyu with a delicious dash of chiyu. On our last stop, the master pulled a niboshi-filled strainer straight out of the broth pot before filling our bowls with simmering soup — a smooth shoyu, with some se abura for richness. The tokusei option comes with standard soft, juicy chashu belly, as well as teonchori (low-temp, slow-roasted) chashu, which is served pink and almost looks like roast beef. A generous helping of freshly chopped negi tops it off.
Five of six years ago, Honda was widely considered one of the top five shops in Tokyo, but with all of the innovative new shops opening up, it occasionally gets a little lost in the shuffle these days. It has performed with incredible consistency though, and a lot of the bowls they were early to serve have become common in the scene.
Mendokoro Honda | 麺処 ほん田
Opening Hours: Mon, Thurs & Sat: 11:30am-4pm; Tues, Fri & Sun: 11:30am-4pm, 6:30pm-10pm
Days Closed: Wednesday
1-22-6 Higashijujo, Kita, Tokyo
東京都 北区 東十条 1-22-6