Tokyo’s “Menya Kissou” has Ramen That’s Worth the Wait in Line!
Out of all the ramen shops in Tokyo’s Koto-ku, one is truly representative of Tokyo’s ramen: “Menya Kissou.”
Menya Kissou opened in 2006, armed with carefully crafted house-made noodles and a tonkotsu-seafood soup base that uses absolutely no artificial flavorings. Immediately after opening it garnered significant popularity, and that has carried over all the way to the present day, over 10 years since its opening.
This time around, I visited that very “Kissou”! There are plenty of ramen shops that use tonkotsu-seafood broth, so what is it that sets Menya Kissou apart from the rest?
There’s Always a Line Outside!
The restaurant is located about a 5-minute walk from the Tokyo Metro’s Kiba Station. When I arrived, there was a line formed outside the shop in the small space available.
I took up my place at the back of the line, and my time finally came around 40 minutes later!
The menu consists of ramen and tsukemen. This time I went with the standard ajitama (marinated soft-boiled egg) ramen.
Incidentally, apparently Menya Kissou uses aged noodles in their ramen and fresh noodles in their tsukemen. I really wanted to try them both and compare them, but eating both would’ve been quite the challenge, so I gave up on it….
Delicious from the First Bite!
There are only 10 seats inside, all at the counter. I was greeted with a friendly “Welcome!” when I sat down in my slightly-high seat at the counter. The restaurant is managed by a married couple, and their reception was very polite and made me feel welcomed.
Soon my ajitama ramen arrived, but it surprisingly looked like a fairly orthodox bowl of ramen: medium-thickness noodles in a rich soup, topped with ajitama, char siu, menma, green onion, and nori. It really did seem to be a standard bowl of tonkotsu-seafood ramen, so I was extra-curious to find out what was so special about it.
I drank one spoonful, and… it was hot and rich!
The soup begins with an animal stock broth, made by simmering ingredients like pork bones, chicken bones, shiitake mushrooms, and kombu together over the course of a day. Next, three types of sliced dried fish, including katsuobushi, are used to make fish broth. The two are then blended together, making the shop’s so-called double soup.
I drank one spoonful, and… it was hot and rich! But even so, it had a very light aftertaste!
The rich and creamy soup clings to your taste buds and envelops your tongue as it smoothly spreads through your mouth! It has a very natural flavor despite the condensed umami of the tonkotsu broth.。
The soup really gives the impression that it has been painstakingly crafted with a lot of time and effort.
When cooking down a large quantity of pork bones in a pot, you must carefully monitor the intensity of the flame for a long period of time while the marrow is pulled from the bones and the sources of umami, gelatin and fat, are slowly rendered and equally distributed into the broth. The resulting soup is thick, but still has a well-rounded flavor. Furthermore, adding the seafood broth creates a soup that is profoundly rich yet still has a fragrant aroma.
With just one sip, I was drawn in to the soup by its startling closeness to perfection.
The noodles are aged for 1 to 2 days after they are made. They are rounded medium-thick noodles.
The noodles are slippery, but they’re also slightly sticky and chewy. Thanks to the aging, the noodles gain chewiness, texture, and balance. They are neither too hard nor too starchy, with just the right amount of chewy texture to them.
The pairing between the soup and noodles is also spot-on!
The char siu is meaty yet soft!
The char siu is meaty yet soft. It’s so tender that it looks like it might fall apart when you pick it up with your chopsticks!
It’s very flavorful and stands up well against the rich soup. The char siu falls apart in your mouth, letting the meat’s umami and the gentle sweetness of the fat spread across your taste buds.
The ajitama is also really delicious!
The white of the egg has thoroughly absorbed its marinade, and you can clearly taste the sweetness of it. The yolk is soft-boiled, with a smooth sticky texture. The ajitama, much like the char siu, holds its own against the rich soup.
Everything down to the ajitama is carefully crafted to bring out the best in the ingredients at this famous shop!
A Famous Shop Among Famous Shops!
After I finished my ramen and thanked the staff for the delicious meal, I stood up, and the married couple that owns the restaurant thanked me and saw me all the way out. Despite how busy the shop was, they didn’t hold back on the customer service one bit!
Menya Kissou truly doesn’t pull any stops, from using the best ingredients they can to make the best food they can, to providing the best customer service they can. I definitely can understand why this restaurant has been adored for over 10 years already!
Basic information on Menya Kissou
- 1-11-3 Toyo, Koto-ku, Tokyo
- A 5-minute walk from the Tokyo Metro’s Kiba Station
- Business Hours
- 11:30-15:00（*Closed when the soup runs out）
- Wednesdays, Sunday