Try amazing seafood tonkotsu ramen at Higashi-Jujo, Tokyo's Sansanto!
Allow me to introduce you to the shop that is said to have the best seafood tonkotsu ramen around: Sansanto. It’s only open at night for 2.5 hours between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.! But this doesn’t put a damper on Sansanto’s popularity; people form lines outside in pursuit of a bowl of their famously delicious ramen every night they’re open! I headed over to see what all the fuss was about!
You gotta love the nostalgic Showa period atmosphere!
Exit from the north exit of Higashi-Jujo Station and head down the hill to your immediate left. Sansanto is located partway down in an old building with a red paper lantern, red signage, and an overall atmosphere that just screams Showa. There were around 12 people lined up when I arrived.
This shop asks you to buy your tickets first, which is the opposite of most other ramen joints. I swiftly made my way to the meal ticket machine located just inside the entrance, bought my tickets, and rushed back to find my place at the end of the line.
Choose from ramen, tsukemen (noodles that you dip in soup), and abura soba (soup-less oil noodles). I personally went for the ramen with an ajitama. Apparently the ramen and tsukemen are equally popular, with the abura soba close behind.
Seafood tonkotsu ramen like nowhere else!
Inside there were only 8 counter seats. The plus side was that I only waited for my meal for about 5 minutes. The aroma was mesmerizing. When my bowl was placed in front of me, I admired the soft colour of the soup as the chashu (broiled pork slice), ajitama, menma bamboo shoots, scallions, and daikon radish sprouts began to whet my appetite.
First, I took a sip of the soup. Delicious!
In addition to tonkotsu (pork bones), the broth also incorporates chicken feet, dried fish flakes, and dried sardines for balance; it’s neither too rich nor too light. The animal products add a layer of umami that blends with the luxurious seafood flavours for a soup that can't be beat!
The bright pink low-temperature cooked chashu, which could easily be confused for roast beef, was a pleasant surprise. Its moist, chewy, rare texture was just exquisite! It may even be some of the best chashu out there.
I recommend ordering the side order of chashu as well. It’s so good, you’ll be glad you took my advice! The thickly sliced meat is as scrumptious as can be.
Sansanto’s ajitama are on the firmer side as far as soft-boiled eggs go. The wonderfully flavoured egg white and the rich yolk blended together in my mouth like magic. And adding a sip of the soup into the mix seemed to magnify the flavours even further!
Last but not least, let’s talk noodles! Their handmade noodles are of medium thickness, feature a slight wave, and have a smooth yet chewy texture. They were really quite exceptional and went with the soup like a match made in heaven!
While I tried the ramen this time, the tasty noodles left me wanting to return to try the tsukemen as well!
Be aware of the short 2.5 hour window!
Sansanto is run by a lovely couple. The husband seemed a bit shy, but you could tell he prides himself in his work, and the wife was bright and cheerful. I think it’s a combination of the at-home atmosphere they create and their first-rate ramen that is what makes their little shop, Sansanto, as popular as it is.
This isn’t the easiest shop to visit, as it’s only open for 2.5 hours a day, but it’s worth planning around their business hours to try their amazing ramen!
- 3-16-15 Naka-Jujo, Kita-ku, Tokyo
- 2-min walk from Higashi-Jujo Station
- Business Hours
- Mondays and Thursdays