March 30, 2015

6 Days of Ramen: Day 3


Am I tired of ramen yet? Nope. Is John? YEP.

The fake excitement in his eyes. The gritting teeth. But he still sets out on my journey each afternoon, navigating us both with our trusty map.

I think this is one of my favorite things about John. He humors me. I’m crazy, I’m silly, I’m emotional. When I’m happy, I am so happy I’m like a child. When I’m angry I completely lose my shit. When I’m sad, my entire world shuts down and I want to give up completely and sleep forever. He knows how to deal with all these people. And if he knows something will make me happy, he does it. Even if his belly is full.

Ramen makes me happy.

I’ve said before that food is very emotional to me. I once watched one of my typical shitty reality shows and heard something I will never be able to shake. This fitness fanatic (I forget the show) sat down with someone that was having trouble with their weight. A mixture of just a terrible diet and a lifestyle that would never accommodate drastic change. I felt for this person because I get it. I know I’m not overweight, but the struggle of food — the thoughts that go through my mind after a day of “bad eating”, the constant worry about appearance. The thoughts of “well, if I have a healthy breakfast I can be bad later on…”, “if I eat this avocado now, I probably won’t crave carbs as much later…” — constant calculations in my mind! It’s like I am organizing my love of eating. It sucks, but I have to plan it out. God dammit.

Anyhow, here is what stuck with me. The fitness fanatic told this woman that food is body fuel. It isn’t supposed to taste good. It isn’t supposed to be a focus in your life. You take in food like car would take in gas. You put in premium gas, and your car will thank you for it. And in return, you’ll have that car running perfectly for as long as it possibly can.

I thought “Wow…”

Fuck. That.”

AH I always feel like I always say the same things in these overly dramatic, food lover posts. So I’ll refrain. But man, I had to share that because I’m so disturbed by those words I heard 3 or 4 years ago.

Just do what makes you happy and what you love. Be smart about it, but not “YEAH BRO BODY FUEL BRO” smart. It’s that silly word that means so much: moderation.

This coming from the person who is eating ramen every fucking day for a week but hey, I never promised to be wise.

SO…..ramen day 3! I know I said we were heading to Harajuku but we actually figured out that the place we loved so much, years ago, is actually the same restaurant we ate at on the first day of ramen, Kyushu Jangara! KYUSHU JANGARA IS A CHAIN CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??? My heart hurt a bit upon hearing that. I’m going to pretend there are only 2 restaurants….

Kyushu Jangara is now what we use to compare other ramen places to. Yesterday’s ramen, I am proud to say, came damn close.


Masutani Ramen is actually on the same block as Kyushu Jangara. Do you have any idea how hard it was to walk past Kyushu, to Masutani??? IT WAS HARD.

That’s what she said.

The first thing I noticed about Masutani was that we had no idea if we were at Masutani. It’s on the street level of a 2-story building, but the outdoor photos and signs of food were mixed in with the restaurant above us. The inside, as usual, was filled with suit-clad businessmen, slurp slurping like they were on a mission to be done as quickly as possible. Which, they actually are doing — if you don’t eat ramen quickly enough, it will become soft and thick and it will seem like a never-ending bowl of ramen paste.

I was most intrigued that Masutani actually gave us more options of what to do with their simple ramen choices than the other places. Or, we just couldn’t understand the other menus which I’m sure is more likely the case. Noodle hardness, spice level, amount of oil. I like.

We started with one of the tiny “nibblies” — BBQ pork with pickles. Which John described as “kimchi pork”. He was right. We LOVED it. This is what I love about good Japanese food, or really any Asian food (that sounds weird, I know just go with it) — you get handed this tiny, unassuming dish and next thing you know, that tiny dish is smacking you in the face with flavor.


For ramen, I did the highest spice level, with normal noodles (I actually like harder noodles, I dunno why I didn’t get them when I had the chance), and level 2 oily which is a little bit less than VERY OILY. John did the same, except he took it down a notch on the spice.






Really. I loved it. It was definitely different from our favorite, Kyushu Jangara, which made me happy. It was good to know that I don’t just like one type of ramen at one restaurant. The broth as Masutani wasn’t milky, but the stronger miso and higher level of oil made it taste light and decadent all at once. It was oily but didn’t taste fatty. It was porky but it didn’t taste like pork.

The only downside for me was that they used twice as much noodles in the same size bowl as any other place we’ve been. Great for the budget and belly but I can’t eat that much that quickly and I ended up leaving so much behind.

We decided that if this ramen had less noodles, more garlic and pork belly, we would just be in heaven. But alas, Masutani is its own place, and we still loved it.

Just means there are more places for us to love.

See you tomorrow! YEAH BRO BODY FUEL BRO.


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