Ibuki | 中華ソバ 伊吹
Style: Niboshi Shoyu
Bowl to Crush: Chuka Soba | 中華ソバ
As you enter Ibuki, look closely and you may see boxes and boxes of different varieties of niboshi (dried baby sardines) stacked behind and beside the counter. Needless to say, the house specialty here is a bowl that packs a powerful niboshi punch.
The soup is shoyu-based, but thick and highly compelling – it's exploding with umami and bitterness from the niboshi. It almost tastes like a rich tonkotsu ramen but it's made entirely with dried fish.
The thin, straight noodles are a nice contrast to the complexity of the soup. The chashu is a hearty chunk of soft stewed pork belly; the dish comes topped with some diced onions.
A popular way of eating this bowl involves ordering "aedama" (a refill of noodles served in a side dish with onion, minced pork and a little tare), before drinking the soup. Just say “aedama” when you’re ready for another serving of noodles. It will cost you 150 yen. Mix the noodles with the other ingredients in your refill bowl, and taste them as served. You can then eat them tsukemen-style by dipping the noodles in the remaining soup in your ramen bowl, or simply dump them into your ramen bowl in one go and eat them as a ramen noodle refill (just watch your neighbors if you find yourself confused – you really can't go wrong).
Ibuki was previously located in Oizumigakuen in Nerima, before its relocation to Shimura Sanchome in Itabashi-ku in January 2014. Note the Mexican flag hanging inside the shop – the shop's self-taught master, Mimura-san, is one-quarter Mexican. Bueno.
Ibuki is pretty hot these days – expect a line and avoid the tail end of their opening hours, as they often close early when the soup runs out.
Opening Hours: 11:45am-2:30pm, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Days Closed: Monday, 1st & 3rd Tuesday of Month
4-58-10 Maenocho, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo