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Ramentary: Ame-MuRa-men (ok, technically Ame Mura tsukemen)

Somewhat disappointed that I’d be unable to dine in such a pun-derful environment, I turned the corner and happened upon “吉っちゃん” (Yocchan), a small establishment with a giant sign out front, replete with lovely pictures of their tsukemen. I ventured inside and found myriad pictures of the proprietor posing with pro wrestlers, wrestling masks, and lots and lots of posters featuring hulking Japanese men with silly names. We’ve got a wrestling themed yakiniku place in Asago as well, and as a former Hulkamaniac, I found the décor amusing and relaxing.

I parked at the high counter and perused the menu. I ordered the spicy pork miso tsukemen, large, with their daily rice bowl (only 100 yen!). The noodles, pork, bamboo, and nori come out on a large straw-like basket, with the fire-red soup in tow. Springy, chewy, and cool, the noodles scream tsukemen and fill your nostrils with a faint egg odor when eaten. Dipped into their unfortunately-not-hot-enough soup, the result is a delightful combination of spice and garlic, with the soup warming the noodles to a comfortable temperature. I say the soup was not hot enough because with an oomori order of noodles (300 grams at this particular restaurant), a great deal of heat is sucked out of the soup with every dip. The last 1/4 or so of my noodles were unfortunately eaten at a somewhat less than ideal heat, and I actually ran out of soup before I finished my noodles. That was certainly a first.

Serving size aside, the meal was delicious. The rice bowl was simply bits of roast pork and chopped green onions with a ponzu sauce, a fine addition for the price. The pork, included in the soup as well as with my noodles, was full-flavored and had a texture firm enough to know you were eating meat and not fat.

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