Smelly, hence Yummy: Top Five Tonkotsu Ramen in Tokyo!
For Japanese, ramen is considered as one of the national foods of Japan.
Tonkotsu ramen is essentially noodles served with rich, creamy, unctuous pork bone broth and is particularly popular among foreign visitors. One of the most common ramen-tonkotsu ramen has pork bone broth mixed with tare (combination of soy, salt and miso).
The soup has a relatively light flavor and suits almost everyone’s palate.
The ramen in Hakata, the origin of tonkotsu ramen, has a thicker, smellier soup.
The ramen with tonkotsu in Hakata has quite a strong “smell” but that’s what adds to its utter deliciousness!
Several ramen restaurants serving authentic tonkotsu ramen have opened in Tokyo over the last few years.
Here, I introduce some selected restaurants where you can enjoy “smelly” ramen in Tokyo.
The noodles are thin and firm, referred to as “barikata!” meaning slightly tougher than usually served noodles. The dish produces a distinct odor but strangely that’s what makes it addictive.
Get ready to savor some scrumptious, authentic tonkotsu ramen in the best five restaurants in Tokyo!
①Authentic Taste as that of a Stall in Nagahama at Hakata Ramen Barikote
The owner from Hakata reproduces the authentic taste provided by ramen stalls in Hakata. As the restaurant name indicates, this taste is “bari (very) kote (rich)!”
With eight counter seats, this restaurant is cozy and the aroma of cooking along with an intimate atmosphere makes you feel at home.
You will truly feel like you’re eating in a stall!
You dish will be served in a few minutes after your order for “barikote” ramen.
It is 100% pork bone broth! While it is really thick and has a strong smell of pork bone, it is not oily.
Quality is king here and it becomes quite obvious as you see the fresh spring onions in plenty supplied directly from Hakata and roasted pork fillets cooked in their secret sauce.
As they serve a large amount of hot soup, you can ask for kaedama, a noodle refill.
Hakata Ramen Barikote
Address: 1-30-15 Koenji-minami, Suginami, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 11:30 – 15:00, 17:30 – 2:00 Next Day
Sunday: 11:30 – 15:00, 17:30 – 23:00
②erfect with some drinks and snacks: Hakata Nagahama Ramen Donryu
The best feature of this restaurant is that you can eat ramen not only indoors but also in the open space outdoors.
It is open until 4 am on weekdays, so many customers come here after having a couple of drinks at a few bars.
With many drinks and snacks on the menu, this restaurant has more like an izakaya feel (Japanese bar) at night.
The white soup is thick with an aroma of all that you can expect from a pork broth.
Contrary to the appearance, it is actually quite light and not as heavy as it seems; making it possible to finish this ramen right till the end, even after having a couple of drinks.
In addition to the authentic Nagahama ramen, their snacks which are Hakata specialties go really well with drinks.
Hakata Ramen Donryu
Address: 1F, 1-2-13 Higashi-shinbashi, Minato, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 11:00 – 4:30 Next Day Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: 11:00 – 22:30
③No.1 for Smell: Thick Tonkotsu at Hakata Nagahama Ramen Botan Otsuka Main Restaurant
“Botan” boasts their thick soup is called “smelly” by all their customers.
The restaurant has a really strong smell of pork bones, so the smell may get on your clothes or hair after eating the ramen.
A great restaurant for those who want to enjoy the smell and umami of pork bones.
The thick, brown soup goes perfectly with super thin noodles. You may need to be brave to finish all the soup as it is a bit greasy.
In addition to the spring onions and chashu (roasted pork fillets), you can also enjoy the pleasant texture of jelly ear mushrooms
The thick soup which is highly praised by tonkotsu ramen enthusiasts is really satisfying.
Hakata Nagahama Ramen Botan Otsuka Main Restaurant
Address: 2-12-3 Kita-otsuka, Toshima, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11:00 – 2:00 Next Day
④Enjoy Pig’s Head Soup at Hakata Kokumaro, Futakotamagawa Branch
Hakata Kokumaro is a chain having many restaurants in Fukuoka-shi in addition to Futakotamagawa, Tokyo.
While it is a small restaurant, it is so popular that many people wait in line during lunch time!
The pleasant smell of tonkotsu wafting from the restaurant will make you stop in your steps.
What makes this place special is the main ingredient of Hakata Kokumaro’s soup: pig’s head!
The soup made by accurately calculating temperature, time and amount of water has a rich, pleasant flavor.
This soup has been constantly improved and developed according to people’s preferences during each era.
While it has a strong pork bone smell, you are left with a surprisingly light aftertaste. Thus, you do not find it too greasy even if you slurp all the soup!
Hakata Kokumaro, Futakotamagawa Branch
Address: 3-14-6 Tamagawa, Setagaya, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11:00 am – 2:00 am Next Day
⑤Famous Restaurant Started from a Stall in Fukuoka: Hakata Ramen Shibaraku, Nihonbashi Branch
Shibaraku initially opened as a food stall located in a stall market in Hakata more than 60 years ago.
When a restaurant opened in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, in 2002, many people originally from Fukuoka but are now living in Tokyo highly praised their ramen calling it “the most authentic taste of Hakata ramen!”
This relaxing, cozy restaurant has a stylish atmosphere and even women on their own feel welcome here.
Shibaraku is committed to making the best soup!
The thick broth made from 100% pork bone is simmered for about 36 hours.
This broth enjoys popularity among ladies as simmering pork bones for such a long time produces a lot of collagen!
The amazing flavor of pork bones is contained in the soup and goes really well with thin noodles.
A relatively small bowl of soup served with heaps of noodles is the best to have after a couple of drinks.
Hakata Ramen Shibaraku, Nihonbashi Branch
Address: 2-14-4, Nihonbashi Kakigara-cho, Chuo, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 11:00 am – 1:00 am Next Day Sunday and Public Holidays: 11:00 – 20:00
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