Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tenpou ramen, Kanda (天宝)

There are some weird things in the back alleys of Kanda; not all of them have proper signs. This one does, and in some ways it would be better not to see it. To put it simply, it's maid barbeque. To put it a little longer, it seems you can pick which skimpy cartoon costume you want the girls to wear while they serve you meat to cook at your table. I like to think I'm immune to the basic wackiness of Japan, but this threw me - the basic concept is...and the location is really cramped and dirty.

But not as cramped and dirty as "Treasure of the Heavens" nearby. When I've tried to go to this place in the past it's always been too late in the day. Today I squeezed in during normal hours - would you believe it was mostly full the whole time? Popular, it seems. Cheap, for sure.

And atmospheric. The haze in the air is not mist on my lens, it's just a general funk from the woks. The big, bald guy on the right has the air of someone who really knows how to fry up a lunch, while the guy on the left had the most helium voice you'd ever hear. He is possibly a castrato.

And he makes a decent bowl of old-fashioned ramen. The noodles were predictably overcooked, the pork and bamboo were both a touch iffy, but the soup was a cut above what you'd expect for Y450 in this atmosphere. I could see going back, just to take a visitor or something.

The faces change, the soup remains the same.

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