Monday, December 27, 2010

Tengen ramen, Machiya (天元)

Vacation. Ooooh, how we love it. For some reason it didn't feel like vacation started until today; I think there was just too much excitement in the lead-up to Christmas. So don't laugh, but faced with nothing to do for a day, what did I do? 3+ hours of exploring northeast Tokyo, with a lunch in the middle. It's almost monotonous.

Over the summer I rode my bike next to the Arakawa all the time. When I'd get bored, I'd jump off and freestyle my way home, following the road signs. On one of those trips, I followed the Arakawa tram line and came to Machiya. It looked like a big and maybe interesting town, so I finally managed to get back there today. It was boring - no offense to the tens of thousands of real people who live their lives there, but if you didn't live there I can't see much reason to go.

Possibly the biggest decision on getting there was how to cross the river. This is Komagatabashi, one of the bridges closest to Asakusa. Incidentally, are you wondering why Asakusabashi isn't the closest bridge to Asakusa? It's because Asakusabashi is a place, but not a bridge. Here are all 18 of the bridges and the dates they were originally built.  Equally incidentally, I'd like to point out that neither the shrine on the left nor the light-blue bridge on the right are shaped anything like a horse.

And here we are up in Machiya. There's a disappointing lack of side streets, and the main streets are mostly populated with chain restaurants. This was the only appealing modern-style ramen place, so after another 15 minutes disconsolate rolling about, I went back to it.

Seems like panorama day. This one wasn't meant to be a panorama, so it didn't align well, but still you get the idea. The guy on the right was the master, and extremely genki - welcoming people and asking how many in their parties (the 'ramen dining' concept means they want to seat people at tables, I guess), calling out to the staff by name to do things, generally sounding happy.

And hey, he's making an OK bowl too. In a misguided attempt to increase calorie intake, I got kotteri shoyu. 'Kotteri' in this case means 'with added chunks of fat that you can see floating on the surface there'. They're not onions.

Solid soup, eggy chewy noodles, good pork...your basic all around decent bowl.

And hell, all the other guys had fried rice or something extra, so I got a plate of gyoza too. Either these were good gyoza or it's been too long since I had gyoza.

Not much to say about the place, as you noticed. Let me just pad things out with a quick shot from back by the bathroom - clearly they were not expecting average-height foreigners among their customers when they installed this fan under the air-con unit. I've been thinking of getting a haircut, but not this way.

Tabelog seems a little unfair at 2.9, but that's ramen for you.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's a lot of fat floating in that ramen.