He will introduce us to some of the latest ramen trends in the world. Ramen Guide Japan is currently serving as a Guest Editor at Ramen Hero. He introduce Japanese cutting-edge ramen trend in the world. If you are interested in his other content, you can check out Ramen Guide Japan!
In the current age of dining being so heavily influenced by social media, it’s not a surprise that restaurants have become more savvy in their internet presence. In Japan, the most commonly used apps are Twitter and Instagram with a huge number of people using Tabelog (the Japanese version of Yelp) to help decide where to grab their next meals. Options are endless and while reviews tend to help in narrowing down shops, many tend to pick based on photos as sifting through countless reviews can be time consuming and sometimes unhelpful.
As such, restaurants have been focusing on better plating to make for a more photogenic meal that can catch the attention of potential diners browsing the aforementioned social media apps. The ramen industry has been no different and some shops may have put a bit more effort into the visuals of the bowl to help attract more customers...especially in these difficult times of Covid. Of course, this is quite a subjective list, but here are 5 of the most photogenic ramen you must try on your next visit to Japan! I compiled the list using my own instagram (@ramenguidejapan) and took the most liked photos from the account. Hopefully this will help in finding some instagrammable ramen of your own!
King Seimen (キング製麺)
King Seimen, located near Oji station, is actually an offshoot of the famous shop Ramen Koike out near Kamikitazawa station. Ramen Koike already produced Ramen Nishino prior to opening King Seimen and have both received Michelin Bib Gourmand nods as well as a place on the Tabelog Top 100 Hyakumeiten list. King Seimen, therefore, had lofty expectations before they even served their first bowl, but was quickly able to establish itself to the level of it’s predecessors with a Tabelog Top 100 and Michelin Bib Gourmand of their own. However, they might be best known for their popularity on instagram with their bowls garnering thousands of likes on the regular.
The ramen to grab here is the 白だし全部入りワンタン麺, or the white dashi wonton ramen, which is pictured here. What makes King Seimen so visually striking and popular on instagram is the plating and, of course, the fiery red Ajitama soft boiled egg. The bright sheen of the yolk on King Seimen’s eggs comes from a special feed for their chickens which helps brighten the yolk in the eggs they lay. The marinade uses a white dashi which makes the whites even whiter and contrast the orange gorgeously. While the egg helps attract customers, what keeps them repeating is their ramen which uses a pure seafood based broth of Niboshi, Bushi, and Shellfish for a huge umami explosion.
Kotobuki Seimen Yoshikawa (寿製麺よしかわ)
Next up is Kotobuki Seimen Yoshikawa which has a number of locations spread throughout northern Tokyo and Saitama prefecture. The shop first gained notoriety for their varied seasonal, gentei specialty menu which always included decadent seafood based ingredients which brought out some unique ramen experiences. To be honest, all of their bowls are incredibly photogenic and are always popular on instagram, but their classic 特製煮干し白醤油 is the one to grab.
I think the biggest eye catcher for Kotobuki Seimen Yoshikawa’s ramen is the pork chashu which comes along with the Tokusei, extra toppings. The rosy pink chashu slices are carefully rolled to create a rose-like flower which is placed on top of the noodles. Ramen itself is a Niboshi, dried fish based stock which is seasoned with a white shoyu tare that uplifts and balances the flavor profile beautifully. Noodles are the perfect match and you’ll have a hard time keeping the structure of the rose chashu with how well it matches with the other components of the bowl. Be sure to snap your photos before you dig into the beautifully rolled chashu!
Tori Soba Yamamoto (鶏そば 山もと)
Yamamoto is a relative newcomer to the ramen industry with the shop and master originally being a yakitori, grilled chicken restaurant during the evenings. Using their knowledge of high end chicken, the shop decided to open during lunch as a ramen shop serving some of the finest refined chicken ramen in Tokyo. In addition to their extensive knowledge in chicken, they also brought their years of experience running high end restaurants and the media presence know how to go along with it. The decor is obviously top notch as it uses the same space as their evening, high-end yakitori restaurant, but the plating and service puts it in a category all on it’s own in the ramen industry.
What makes Yamamoto stand out in the Instagram space is their use of colors and floral toppings to brighten up their bowls. The instagrammable bowl to grab here is the pictured Shio Ramen which comes beautifully plated with a slice of sudachi citrus, yellow flower petals, pearly white Ajitama soft boiled egg, chashu slices, and roasted tomatoes all on top a perfect noodle fold. The ramen is no second fiddle with a decadent chicken based soup that is brimming with flavor and a brilliant shio tare seasoning to match. For the ultimate instagram post, be sure to order their chashu over rice and chicken over rice which are served in elegant, traditional Japanese bowls.
Gonokami Seisakujo (五ノ神製作所)
One of the biggest eyecatchers of ramen is the noodle fold and nowhere is it more pronounced than in Tsukemen where the noodles are on full display. As such, many tsukemen chefs try and master this difficult technique to make their dishes look as presentable as possible. A shop which has seemingly mastered this beautiful plating style is Gonokami Seisakujo which serves it along with their ever popular shrimp based tsukemen soup. While all of the soup options at Gonokami utilize shrimp as their base, the tomato version is the one to grab for the most photogenic and delicious option. However, be sure to come back for the Miso and regular versions which are almost equally as good.
As you can see from the photo, the noodles have a brown tint and include a dollop of a genovese pesto sauce which pairs phenomenally with the tomato and shrimp based soup. The color contrast of the green and brown really makes the noodles pop while the bright red shrimp and tomato based soup makes the dish brighten even further with the deep hue giving the meal a ton of color. And the dish isn’t just for looks either with a deep shrimp based soup imparting tons of flavor and umami, while the genovese sauce provides some refreshing cleanses of the palette in between slurps of their thick and chewy noodles.
Ramen Kamo to Negi (らーめん鴨to葱)
Last, but not least is the Duck Confit Ramen served at the popular Ramen Kamo to Negi near Okachimachi station along the JR Yamanote line. What makes the bowls at Kamo to Negi so photogenic isn’t just their perfectly cooked duck confit slices and it’s beautifully aligned placement in the bowl, but also the backdrop of the beautiful Japanese tatami which line the countertop. The nostalgic, traditional Japanese atmosphere and ambiance of the shop gives off a Zen vibe allowing guests to truly enjoy the ramen they are served.
The Duck Confit ramen is not just for looks either and the components of the soup balance harmoniously for an angelic bite. Broth is steeped using only three ingredients: duck, negi, and water. The simplicity of the broth ensures that each component shines through while the sweet shoyu tare rounds out the duck infused broth beautifully. Finally, the eyecatcher, duck confit is cooked in it’s rendered oil and served at a rosy pink hue. The tender slices contrast the snappy noodles and crisp negi for a truly delectable experience. Secret pro tip...be sure to order a side of their rice bowls in addition to the ramen. Kamo to Negi offers a Torotaku with minced tuna and pickled radish as well as an Oyakodon of chicken and egg. Both are phenomenal and highly recommended.