Budouka : Ramen Like Never Before

Dining in ramen restaurant Food & Drinks

If you are searching for an insanely large yet delicious meal, look no more and head over to Budouka Ramen. Its pork based broth brought to Tokyo from the southern island of Kyushu is to die for and at a ridiculously low price!

Unknown to most of Tokyo yet thriving in the Waseda University district, Budouka Ramen is by far the most popular ramen shop I know. It is not out of the ordinary to see ten to fifteen people queuing outside its doors, desperately waiting for the first opportunity to grab a seat. When you think about it this happens all around the world, if a restaurant serves good food it may take a while to get a table, but most of the time the food will cost you more than a MacDonalds meal; not at Budouka.

While the ramen may be out of the ordinary, the setting is not so much: a very much traditional ramen noodle restaurant. Customers eat at the bar surrounding the kitchen, the walls are plastered with posters and the air is thick with the fragrance of miso, broth and noodles cooking. As with any ramen shop you must first buy a ticket at the vending machine in the entrance to tell the cooks what it is you want to eat.

Seeing as you are probably either a student or travelling, I am guessing you are on a budget here are a few tips to eating your fill. The trick to Budouka ramen is not to order the expensive bowls with extra meat or vegetables, but to get the basic one (keep in mind it still comes with a slice of meat and plenty of onions and pickles) but on top of that for an extra 50¥ charge you can get unlimited rice (with pickles if you like). Here is where it gets tricky: you can order as much rice as you want but must pay for whatever rice you do not eat. My recommendation is to order the rice bowls half a portion at a time, on average I think you can work through one and a half portions and have a food coma afterwards.

So now you have rice and ramen in broth you can choose to eat it however you want. By far the least messy way is to dip the rice into the broth to get all the amazing flavors in the rice, which you can always get more of. My friends and I have a bit of a split opinion here: the pickles. Whilst some consider them to be quintessential to the meal, the condiment tying all of the ingredients together others just think they take away from the magic of the broth. I recommend the pickles, as they are what persuaded me to return and queue time and time again.

Now you know how, all you have left to do is to come experience the rich and creamy tonkotsu ramen for yourselves. Eating a bowl of Budouka noodles is always a guaranteed satisfaction for your stomach and your palate. If you happen to be in the Waseda University area do not forego the chance to enjoy a delicious bowl of ramen surrounded by students and locals. You may feel out of place, or bored from waiting in line, but it is all worth it when the cook puts that bowl of noodles before you and your taste in ramen will never be the same.

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