Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Japan: Rakugama Udon Shop 樂釜製麵所

After that awesome stumble we had at Chikara Meshi, we chanced upon another treasure right around the same block of Shinjuku. Since almost all restaurants we've randomly tried have been a hit, we left another dinner opportunity to chance.

With no English descriptions or branding for this one, I had to look up the Chinese characters to confirm the English translation. 樂釜製麵所 literally means "Happy Kettle Udon Shop",  or "Rakugama" in Japanese. I was surprised to find that it's another brand by Sanko, the owners of Chikara Meshi. 

Here's us giving it a 5-second assessment before deciding to go in. 

They serve up a variety of うどん Sanuki hand-kneaded Udon meals with affordable price tags. *for quick computation, divide indicated Yen by two to get Php

Even the rice meals are price winners.

No English means another set of turo-turo meal. I picked the one at the bottom just because it had the words "肉汁" or meat juices, extracted from grilling. Yum!

Here's a peek at the Udon master from outside.

As you enter, you are to inform the Udon Master what you want, hence the turo turo from the photos above. 

There goes my Tsukemen dip.

After picking up the Udon, you are to follow a self-serve station of deep fried goodies.

Fish Cake and Croquette
Chicken and Mixed Vegetables
Pumpkin and Sweet Potato
Sweet Potatoes and Squid

Each item comes with a different price, to be placed on your plate and paid for by the end of the line.

Tentsuya sauce (comprised of dashi, mirin, and shoyu) is then added to certain orders and to your preference.

The communal seating style here makes the most of the small dining space.

This guide to eating Udon comes in Japanese, so interpreting the photos would say:
1. Pick the size
2. Add your tempura toppings
3. Pay
4. Add your garnish of scallions, ginger and garlic
5. Get a cup of water?
6. Add Shichimi, the red chili powder and other spices to taste
7. Err, enjoy? Haha

This I won't bother to interpret anymore. Lol.

My 肉汁 Beef Oil Tsukemen!

Pieces of meat were found at the bottom of the dipping bowl.

It's not spicy as it looks. Despite being oily, the dish was very, very good. The pulled udon noodles were cooked al dente. Fragrant with all the garlic bits and beef fat, it's another dish unlike any I've ever tried.

The last bite to my breaded chicken. Yumm.

Since we were all seated apart, I didn't get to take photos of all our meals. This one is from one of Nikko's brothers, since he was conveniently seated across me. Plain large Udon with Shoyu, with fried mixed vegetables and prawn tempura on the side.

All of us left the restaurant with happily filled tummies, especially this youngest one who had been mentioning Udon the whole day.

The branch we went to is located across Yodabashi, Shinjuku.

They have three branches in Shinjuku, and twelve branches total across Japan.

樂釜製麵所 Rakugama Udon
Shinjuku Center Building
Tokyo Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 1-25-1 
Shinjuku Center Building B1F 7:30 to 22:00 
Saturday, Sunday, public holidays / 10:00 to 21:00

Shinjuku Nishiguchi
Tokyo Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 1-12-6 7:30 to 23:00

Shinjuku Kabukicho
Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 1-15-5 
Big lemon Building 1F 24 hours a day

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