Zenya | ぜんや
Style: Shio w/ Chicken & Vegetables
Bowl to Crush: Zenya Ramen | ぜんやラーメン
The master of Zenya, Iikura-san, worked as a government official for many years before resigning from his post to become a self-taught ramen chef. At Zenya, he presides over a massive pot of boiling soup containing chicken, carrots, onions and lots of other vegetables. Most ramen chefs prepare their soup stock before service hours, discarding the boiled ingredients so that they have a pure soup to work with in the kitchen. But Iikura-san keeps it earthy, ladling each bowl directly from his cauldron of simmering, chunky ingredients.
These earthy optics are carried through in the homey flavors. Ikura-san has taken a down-home chicken vegetable soup and transposed it into a highly refined bowl of Japanese shio ramen. He tried using multiple types of salt before settling on a unique variety from China. The dish also includes yellow, eggy noodles and simple toppings of spinach, menma, sliced negi and chashu. It’s masterfully light and deceptively subtle. Very satisfying. The gyoza also come recommended.
Zenya is regularly ranked among the best shio ramen shops in the Kanto area. Despite the remote location – all the way out in Saitama, which technically isn’t even Tokyo – the shop regularly attracts a line.
Opening Hours: 11:30am-3pm
Days Closed: Tuesday & Wednesday
4-10-5 Nobitome, Niiza-shi, Saitama