Tonkotsu ramen is arguably the most popular style of ramen in Japan. From mass market chains like Ippudo and Ichiran, to smaller and more local ones like Ikaruga, there are countless shops competing to feed the nation-wide addiction to thin noodles in creamy pork bone broth.
One well-known chain of tonkotsu ramen shops in Tokyo is Kyushu Jangara Ramen (九州じゃんがら). Perhaps the most popular branch of Jangara in Tokyo is in Harajuku, just down the street from Meiji Shrine. There always seems to be a line coming out of the place on weekends.
But one night recently, a friend and I stopped in at the Akasaka branch. It’s across the street from the Chinese lamian place I recently wrote about.
I ordered their original ramen, the Kyushu Jangara. Unlike other tonkotsu ramen I’ve had, the Kyushu Jangara features not only thin slices if chashu but also big, thick, tasty pieces of braised pork belly. There’s also big lump of marinated cod roe (mentaiko), bamboo shoots, and poached egg. A good, filling bowl of ramen.
Jangara also offers you a choice of tonkotsu ramen with various levels of fattiness, as well as miso ramen, spicy ramen, garlic ramen, and tsukemen. My friend got spicy tonkotsu in a bright red broth. It wasn’t the greatest bowl of spicy ramen he has ever had, but it hit the spot as a late night meal.
Kyushu Jangara Ramen certainly serves up some decent ramen, which is renowned enough to be featured on the in-flight menu of Japan Airlines and served to such famous customers as former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. The pork belly in the Kyushu Jangara was delicious and a nice change from the conventional bowl of tonkotsu ramen. But if given the choice, I would still prefer the stuff at Ippudo or Ichiran — I personally like the soup and the overall taste of their ramen better. Nonetheless, I would still recommend you give Jangara a try, at the very least to compare to all the other variations of tonkotsu ramen out there.Kyushu Jangara Ramen Location: Various branches throughout Tokyo, including Harajuku, Ginza, Akihabara, and Akasaka. Check out their website for a list of stores. Business Hours: Most stores open daily for lunch and dinner, but hours vary. Check out website for more information. Getting There: The Kyushu Jangara Ramen website provides maps and locations for each of their stores.