Ramen Jiro | ラーメン二郎 三田本店
Style: Jiro Style
Bowl to Crush: Ramen | ラーメン
The original Ramen Jiro opened in Mita, Tokyo back in 1968. The shop went on to spawn its own genre and it remains an influential force in the Tokyo ramen scene today.
There are now over 35 official Ramen Jiro outlets in the Tokyo metropolitan area, along with countless imitators serving their own take on ‘Jiro-style’ ramen. The genre has legions of passionate devotees – there is even a Japanese neologism used to describe Ramen Jiro fanatics: ‘Jirorian.' The standard profile of a Jirorian is young, male and stinking of garlic – usually Tokyo college students and salarymen with big, nasty appetites. This is a meaty, greasy, macho meal.
Some variation exists between Ramen Jiro outlets, but the bowl is invariably a gut buster. Massive chunks of fatty pork undulate in a rich, salty shoyu and tonkotsu soup. A generous serving of thick, dense noodles made from bread flour is piled high with bean sprouts, cabbage and garlic. No napkins and (sometimes) no spoons provided. You can either slurp up the noodles, sprouts and pork fat with your sticks, or pick up the whole bowl and guzzle. There’s nothing else quite like it. Do you consider yourself a glutton for pure pork fat? If so, this bowl might be for you. We honestly can’t decide whether we love it or hate it. Jirorians got nuts for it; plenty of casual eaters find it plain gross.
The legend began at Ramen Jiro’s original outpost in Meguro-ku in 1968, but the shop relocated to a space in Mita in 1970, before moving to its current building nearby in 1996. The shop doesn’t appear to have been cleaned or updated much since the relocation. The laminate on the counter tops is beginning to peel and a layer of grease seems to coat everything. No one cares. It’s all about the ramen. There’s steady line of heads waiting for a seat every single day they are open.
The ticket machine at Ramen Jiro in Mita offers three options: ramen, buta ramen and double buta ramen. You can also specify “large size” for all of these options. Probably 75% of the customers (us included) go for the regular ramen at 600 yen (amazing calorie-for-yen value). Buta and double-buta simply entails extra pork and pig back fat. Sit down and watch the master do his sweaty work, slicing big, juicy slabs of pig and tossing handfuls of noodles into the caldron. Before you get your bowl the staff will ask you if you want garlic. Say ‘hai’ and get to work.
Ramen Jiro wouldn’t make our list of top 100 shops in Tokyo today. Several unaffiliated newcomers now serve better Jiro-style ramen than the actual Ramen Jiro shops. But respect must be paid. This shop created a veritable ramen sub-culture and everyone’s first bowl of Jiro is still a crazy, unforgettable food experience.
Shop Hours: 9am-3pm, 5pm-8pm
Days Closed: Sunday & Holidays
2-16-4 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo