Ramen Jiro Fuchuten (ラーメン二郎 府中店); My Local Jiro, Fuchu
I know a lot of you aren’t the biggest Ramen Jiro fans, but please bear with me. I’ve been eating Jiro since I was in high school and am now determined to finish at least the Jiro franchise location in Tokyo. I hope to one day conquer all 36, but for now I’ll settle with the ones within reasonable train distances. One that I’ve got to the most of all the location is this one here just 7 minutes from Fuchu station. If you look on Japanese wikipedia on Jiro, you’ll find that a number of locations have either closed down or rebranded over the years. A couple of years ago, this Fuchu location was in danger of closing down as well with the owner falling ill and unable to find help at his restaurant. Apparently with a bit of convincing he hired some staff members and reopened, but for dinner hours only.
The Fuchu Jiro location is open weekdays Monday-Friday from 17:00-23:00. The location used to be open on weekends, but have since limited themselves to weekdays after the owner’s illness scare. If they ever revert back, to their weekend times, I’ll report back here and change the times. So before I translate the menu, I have to apologize for my shoddy camera work. The line was getting quite long and the customers behind me were getting antsy, so I had to take a quick snap of the machine before I made the order. I didn’t realize until later that I cut off a column to the right, but I check online the menu items so I’ll list them at the end. So starting at the top left and making my way to the right is the Sho Ramen (small ramen), Buta Iri Ramen (small ramen with extra pork), and Dai Ramen (large ramen). On the second row is the Sho Tsukemen (small tsukemen), Buta Iri Sho Tsukemen (small tsukemen with extra pork), and Dai Tsukemen (large tsukemen). The row below that is the toppings of half boiled egg (whites aren’t set) and cheese. The A, B, and C buttons on the bottom row used to be set menus they served prior to the owner falling ill, but I haven’t seen them advertise it in a while (they used to describe what they were on a sign outside) so don’t worry too much about it. So as I mentioned earlier, I missed one column to the right of these buttons and those are as follows. On the first row was Buta Iri Dai Ramen (large ramen with extra pork) and the second row is the Buta Iri Dai Tsukemen (large tsukemen with extra pork). There were no relevant buttons on the third and fourth row, which might be wow I may have missed it to begin with. Anyways, as I mention with all my Ramen Jiro reviews, I advise you NOT getting the large. The portions at Jiro are huge and if you leave noodles in your bowl, you may end up getting a ban from the shop. Take this as your warning. I opted for the Sho Ramen or small ramen and left quite full.
Next part paragraph is quoted from my previous Jiro reviews as the ordering process is essentially the same for every franchise location. Once you have your ramen purchased at the ticket machine, take an open seat and hand the ticket over to the chef behind the counter. When your ramen is ready he’ll ask you “Ninniku wa?”, or “would you like garlic?”. This is the time you can request additional free toppings. Yasai (vegetables consisting of blanched cabbage and bean sprouts), Ninniku (pressed garlic), Abura (pork fat), and Karame (seasoning sauce) are all free of charge and when the chef asks what you’d like, you call out which toppings you would like and how much of each. If you say each topping, you will get an average amount of those toppings. If you want a little extra of a certain topping, you can say “Mashi” after which ever topping you want more of. “Mashi-Mashi” will be even more of said topping. So for instance, if you wanted no garlic, extra vegetables, and normal pork fat and seasoning sauce, you would say “Yasai mashi, abura, karame”. If you want extra of all the toppings you can say “Zen-Mashi”, or everything extra. I opted to order the Sho Ramen with four slices of pork char siu and asked for “Yasai, Ninniku, Abura” for a bit extra of veggies, garlic and pork fat.
The Jiro at Fuchu is famous for their thick, chewy noodles as you can see in the photo. The alkaline is quite high as evidenced by the color and it comes alive as you try to slurp it up. The thickness combined with its density will make the noodles twirl on its way to your mouth. The soup is more salty than it is fatty and the noodles soak up all of that flavor. The vegetables included in the bowl are some blanched cabbage in a rough, square chop and a handful of bean sprouts. Cabbage and bean sprouts aren’t overcooked so the texture and crunch remains while still softening up to soak up the soup. The bowl honestly looks like Mt Fuji with the pile of veggies stacking in to a mountain.
When you ask for garlic, a nice spoonful of its mince give a nice aroma to the ramen. The pork char siu are more blocks which shred in to the mix of veggies and noodles than slices and are incredible. It lacks a lot of fat to melt in your mouth, but what it lacks in fat, it makes up for in cooking time as it falls apart fiber by fiber from the intense simmer. Not a ton of pork fat is broken down in to the soup, but you can still see bits and pieces floating about amidst the top layer of the soup. Everything combined makes for a great overall Jiro ramen without specializing in one particular aspect.
Jiro is definitely an acquired taste and takes a bit of getting used to, but if you are experienced with the ways of Jiro, I definitely recommend a visit. I recently met with redditor ramen_lord and spoke about how ramen eaters will have a love it or hate it opinion about Jiro and I am definitely in the side of love it. As an important franchise to the history, culture, and growth of ramen, I feel it deserves at least one visit to one location just to formulate your own opinions. If you do end up trying this location in Fuchu, be sure to let me know on any of my social media platforms or right here in the comment section below. Looking forward to hearing which side of the spectrum you lay on!