Niboshi Tsukemen Miyamoto (煮干しつけ麺 宮元); Seafood Tsukemen, Kamata
In the outskirts of south Tokyo near Kamata station, you’ll find a tsukemen restaurant tucked into a corner of a side street 5 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the station. A unique and recognizable aroma will fill the area around the restaurant, hinting you of a flavor that ramen enthusiasts may quickly recognize. Follow the smell and it will lead you to Niboshi Tsukemen Miyamoto, a restaurant opened by a former employee of the infamous Menya Itto and while the scent is similar, you’ll find a remarkably unique flavor here.
Contrary to its’ name, Niboshi Tsukemen Miyamoto actually offers a variety of regular ramen in addition to their namesake tsukemen. The tsukemen is definitely their main attraction, but you’ll see regulars ordering the other items and their seasonal menu as well. As it was my first time, and because of the incredibly enticing aroma of the broth, I opted for the tsukemen. Upon first glance the bowl looks exactly like Menya Itto. The noodles are supposedly made in the same way hence its similar appearance, but the soup also has the dark, creamy color that is synonymous with Itto. The flavor profile however is markedly different. Miyamoto, as their name would suggest, has an incredibly deep and rich Niboshi, fish flavor. The soup is a condensed bowl of Umami and it was honestly a bit overpowering at first, but became more addicting with every bite. While there are hints of chicken and pork broth, the intensity of the broth pulled from the different varieties of dried fish overpowers the rest of the ingredients in the broth. Yuzu citrus helps to cut through the creaminess of the soup and the lightly seasoned roast pork slices balance the bowl out well.
The noodles were firm and held up incredibly well to the rich soup. The egg was well seasoned, but since the soup is already quite creamy, I didn’t think it was necessary to enjoy the bowl. I was very impressed with the quality of tsukemen here and was thoroughly satisfied by the end. However, I will give a disclaimer that if you’re not totally in love with a fishy broth, this may be a difficult bowl for you to consumer. For those who do, this might become your go to tsukemen.
The restaurant itself is always packed so prepare yourself for a nice 30 minute wait at the minimum, regardless of time. I visited the restaurant around 9 pm, and there was still at least 20 people in front of me. In addition, this is far from the fancy ramen restaurants you’ll find in central Tokyo. The tables are sticky, the atmosphere is loud and rowdy, and the intense aroma of fish will overpower your nasal senses. But, that’s really the appeal of this restaurant. Its a neighborhood tsukemen shop that just happened to get national recognition. If you’re a Niboshi lover, or a tsukemen enthusiast, I highly recommend a visit to Miyamoto.