Saturday, January 13, 2018

Famous Ramen Shop Konjiki Hototogisu Cup Noodle (Ramen Walker #1 Shop in 2016)

Sanyo's Konjiki Hototogisu cup noodle is a pretty tasty dish.  This is yet another instant ramen from Japan that is co-produced with the assistance of a famous ramen shop.  I'm sure is it a good deal all around as it sells more instant noodles and the Konjiki Hototogisu ramen shop benefits from free press, especially when the instant noodle is a tasty reminder of the real thing from their shop.  I can't remember which convenience store chain I found it at in Tokyo (I suspect Lawson), but I'm glad I picked it up as these are usually limited editions that run out.

The back story to tasting this cup noodle for me is a series of interesting coincidences.  Before I left on my trip to Tokyo, a buddy from work texted me an article telling me about Konjiki Hototogisu opening up their second restaurant in Toronto, Canada.  Their main restaurant is a tiny little eight seat place in Hatagaya near Shibuya, Tokyo.  I thought I could check out the restaurant if I was in the area for lunch or dinner so I even mapped it before arrived in Tokyo.  Anyhow, I never did make it to the restaurant when I was there but I did try a number of very good ramen restaurants that I'll blog about later.  As I don't read Japanese I actually picked this cup of noodle on spec as it had a label saying it was a Ramen Walker #1 pick in 2016.  Ramen Walker is a specialty ramen magazine in Japan, so I thought this had to be something interesting.  Turns out, the cup noodle is for Konjiki Hototogisu, so I did get a chance to taste their ramen (in instant form at anyhow)!     

This little ramen restaurant has been awarded the Bib Gourmand status in the Michelin Guide for the last three years, and as I said earlier, it was named the #1 ramen in Tokyo, and #1 ramen in Japan by Ramen Walker magazine in 2016.  These are some pretty big credentials so it is probably worth a visit in Tokyo if you're really into ramen.

 Here is a visit from the Ikimasho blog, when they went to the Tokyo shop.

Chef Atsushi Yamamoto's famous ramen is a rich clam, chicken, and pork stock that incorporated other non-traditional ramen ingredients such as truffles and porchini mushroom oil to give it a unique flavour.  They also make their own noodles.  So, now onto the cup noodle now to see if it reflects these ingredients.
The handsome side view of this deluxe cup noodle.  It shows the noodle soup, with a big spoon of rich looking broth.  Looks tasty.  There is also the big yellow Ramen Walker label indicating it is the #1 best ramen of 2016.
The lid of the cup with a packet of flavoured oil / fat to give body to the soup.
With the oil satchet removed you can see the top of the lid shows the name of the shop in bold white detail with the #1 yellow label.  I always like how Japanese lettering can look so bold with white, red, and black.  You can see it also says add 420 ml of water and wait 3 minutes to enjoy hot noodles.
Another view of the cup.
A side view of the cup showing some ingredients information along with a nice photo of chef Atsushi Yamamoto.
Ingredients and nutritional information.
The front of the cup again.
Finally popped the lid to reveal soup powder, green onions, another type of green vegetable, menma (bamboo shoots), and some dehydrated pork pieces.  This is a large cup noodle like the Nissin Big Cups.
The noodles after rehydrating in boiling water.  They are thin noodles that are round, and are the more deluxe type of noodle.
After eating this cup of noodles, I have to say that it was pretty good.  I could definitely tell there was seafood in the broth (thought there was some clam taste to it too).  The broth was strong without being overpowering or too salty.  It seem to be deep flavour profile and tasted good with soy notes, but I'm not having an easy time describing it.  The noodles were firm and had good texture.  The menma was okay along with the pork (kind of ham-like), but it all went together for a tasty treat.  I'd definitely recommend this cup noodle and maybe I'll have to look up his restaurant in Toronto or Tokyo when I'm in town next.  Instant cup noodles like this sure make the instant noodle scene so interesting in Japan.
A closeup of the pork and bamboo along with some noodles.



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