Tsukemen is a kind of Japanese noodles with a thick dipping broth instead of the typical noodle in soupy broth. Tsukemen was first created by a restaurateur Kazuo Yamagishi 54 years ago. He was inspired by a fellow colleague who dipped his noodles in soup during his youth apprentice days. Fast forward to today, there are many restaurants in Japan that serves Tsukemen and when it comes to the best restaurant in Tokyo, Rokurinsha can easily be the one.
The owner of Rokurinsha is said to have trained under the creator Kazuo Yamagishi which is why it is extremely popular with both locals and tourists. There are 2 outlets, one at Tokyo station, Skytree and another at Haneda airport. To avoid queuing, you have to arrive during the non meal times of 10.30 to 11 am. We arrived at 5.30 pm just before dinner and there was already a long queue in front of us
While waiting in queue, we were passed the menu which has both Japanese and English descriptions. We decided to go for the special at ¥1060
Instructions on how to eat the noodles were also passed down the line while customers waited. We took about 30 mins to 45 mins before we were the next set of customers.
When you are next 2 in line, the staff will ask you to purchase your tickets from the machine which is very similar to all ramen stores in Japan. If you need help, the staff will assist you.
The outlet itself is pretty small and can only house a certain number of customers at any one time. Most customers do eat pretty fast and leave without lingering around. Once the staff show you to your table, you can pass to the staff inside the tickets you bought.
We had the counter seats and can see everything the kitchen is doing like how they are so precise in the weight of the noodles in each bowl and how much broth is put into each bowl.
At the counter, there is a few condiments like the chilli powder which is an exclusive recipe of the restaurant and they sell it as well. There is also vinegar and yuzu powder which can be added to the soup later. Iced water is also self served with cups and a tumbler at the counter.
The serving of the special set is pretty huge with a bowl full of cold noodles and egg. The noodles are quite thick looking a lot like udon noodles more than ramen noodles. The broth for dipping is thick and has one char siew, fish cake, meaty flakes as well as lots of onions.
The egg is more of a hard boiled texture than soft boil and has a very unique soy and sake flavour infused in the egg. The noodles are springy and chewy and has very nice texture to pick up the dipping sauce nicely
The dipping broth itself is deep in flavours as you can taste the flavourful pork broth but much stronger than the normal ramen broth. There are also different layers of flavours in the dipping sauce which is hard to describe. The broth is bursting with umami flavours and you just keep eating it as it gets so addictive. The serving of the sauce is perfect for the bowl of noodles and once you are done with the noodles, there should be a little bit of the sauce left
Once you have reached that stage, you can add in the light soup broth they have at the counter in the thermal flasks. If you are seating at the tables, you can ask the staff to help you fill up the soup. By adding the soup, it lightens the broth and makes it taste slightly more bland but very refreshing at the same time and it is the perfect finish to the meal to wash down all the deep flavours.
Overall, I definitely say that Rokurinsha is a restaurant that is worth your time and calories and do not let the queue turn you away as you will not regret it. To say it is the best Tsukemen in Tokyo, I think there would not be any objections. By the time I left the restaurant, the queue has already gone around the restaurant once to the other side so I am glad my wait was still less than an hour. This is definitely a place I will return to when I am in Tokyo.
Address: Japan, 〒100-0005 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Marunouchi, 1 Chome−9−１ 東京駅一番街 東京ラーメンストリート内 B1 ( Tokyo Station – Ramen Street)
Operating hours: 7.30 am to 9.45 am and 10.30 am to 10.45 pm