I wasn’t planning much ramen on the trip, but somehow circumstances forced me to cancel a few high end restaurant reservations.
And then the craving hit pretty hard. Shoyu ramen was my goal and I was told that for Shibuya, Kiraku 喜楽 is the stuff of legends. Super old school and unique on top of that.
Located in Dogenzaka area, and supposedly a bit seedy (didn’t really notice what people said were piles of love hotels, or maybe they repurposed into restaurants?), I came on a very wet rainy weeknight.
The ground floor is counter seating where the master and about two assistants were doing the cooking and preparations. I was directed to be seated upstairs where a Japanese speaking granny took my order and served me. I would later hear her speak fluent Cantonese to another employee…
The place seems a bit more chuka ryori slanted, but yet is a classic ramen house. This was blantantly obvious with gomoku ramen on the menu. No English menu, but do you really need it with the ability to look up social media?
However I was here for their signature. And I had and my mind, and my mind on
Voila, Chashu Men!
Had to pull some of them noodles up for another shot
The chashu had a great bite to it, and for lean cuts, still very tasty! The hard boiled egg was still very tasty, and as @Starchtrade pointed it out in the Venice Ramen thread (Southern California), that is indeed the style for classic Tokyo style shoyu ramen. And even the egg yolk texture was great! Cooking with heart goes a long way…
What’s brilliant here for me is the addition of something virtually identical to dried fried shallots that’s generously used in Taiwanese cuisine (e.g. Hakka Taiwanese) that gives the bowl a super burst of aroma. Not typical in a shoyu broth, but perhaps is a signature for Kiraku itself. It’s also an interesting way to impart fat into the broth (assuming the shallots were deep fried and dried like the Taiwanese versions). What’s also quite genius is the stir fried bean sprouts that are super juicy and add texture and even more flavor overall to the bowl. So tasty! Yet evokes a comfortable blue collar “I don’t give two ******s but I love this” kind of vibe. Great broth too on top of that! I can see Taiwanese people falling in love with this bowl too.
The noodles are thicker, a touch more firmer (al dente if you will). But it works!
The yaki gyoza are pretty good as well! Heavier presence of garlic. Definitely tastier by a notch or two compared to Sansuirou (carb and greasefest but in a different delicious way). They also have fried rice / cha han and I bet it’s damn good with a little bit of ramen gosho / pepper (or bring your own XO sauce lol).
Kiraku Ramen 喜楽
2-17-6 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo