My second meal (after McDonald’s) was ramen at a shop I stopped at almost completely at random. This shop was called Ramen Janbara.
I entered to be greeted by a rather stern-looking woman. Seeing that I was a foreigner, she immediately turned my menu to the English-language section. In an effort to prove my salt as someone who studied Japanese, I ordered the Chashu Ramen, or ramen with pork slices, in Japanese. The ramen came with a small helping of rice, gyoza, and pickled vegetables.
My buddy from university always recommended stopping by any one of the many noodle shops that dot Tokyo, and I think I picked a very quintessentially Japanese ramen shop by coming here. There were a grand total of four tables in the restaurant, each can sit four. Occupying the table to my left, there were two men appearing to be construction workers playing games on their smartphones while enjoying a cigarette. This was one of those restaurants that provides ashtrays at every table.
As I was eating, two more men, these two appearing to be businessmen, filed in later. I’m venturing to guess they were unmarried if they were stopping by here instead of eating a bento made by their wives at their workplace. The businessmen ate their ramen in a short amount of time, and they too lit up after eating.
Ramen Janbara seems to be very quintessential comfort food. You can’t go wrong with real ramen, with tender pork slices and a nice hot broth. With an asking price on the order of ￥700, or about $6, I found the tab (especially since Japanese don’t collect tip) impossible to argue with.
The verdict: The comfiest comfy ramen I’ve ever eaten