Thursday, May 29, 2014

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What is the best ramen in Tokyo? Mutekiya, Ikebukuro


The word muteki in Japanese means invincible, unrivalled or unchallenged. Mutekiya (無敵家) literally means the unbeatable store. A little bold compared to the humble way in which the rest of Japan operates?  Well there’s a reason for it: quite simply it is – unbeatable. Mutekiya Ramen in Ikebukuro is by far and away the best Ramen in Tokyo (if not the world).

Our family has a rule when travelling and that is to never go back to the same restaurant twice. This ensures that we get to eat at the most number of restaurants possible while at the same time a chance to explore different areas of any particular city. In all my travels all over the world, I have only ever broken this rule once - I have been to Mutekiya more than 5 times. What Babe Ruth is to Baseball or Tiger Woods is to Golf, Mutekiya is to Ramen.

So what makes Mutekiya so good? Simple – the broth, the pork, the eggs, the noodles, the toppings and the price. It is nothing more than traditional pork bone tonkotsu broth, but you can see from the before and after photos how much I enjoyed the meal. While I accept that perhaps other Ramen stores may beat Mutekiya on a single item, such as the eggs at Aoba, Nakano, or the noodles at Nagi, Shinjuku, for an overall bowl, Mutekiya is a long way ahead. So much so that if I ever return to Tokyo, which I hope I will, the very first thing I will do, is not a visit to Tsukiji's fish market, nor the shops of Ginza, or the Karaoke in Shibuya, the very first thing I will do is head to Ikebukuro for a bowl of noodles at Mutekiya.

The only thing one could possible complain about at Mutekiya is the long lines (you would be lucky to get one of the eighteen seats in less the 20 minutes). But in my view this is part of the preparation – time to think, pray, love, salivate or whatever else you want to do before you eat. And when you get inside you can add garlic or spice to the broth if you want, order some gyoza if you feel like it, eat the noodles with a knife and fork for all I care. Because in my view Mutekiya is the best place to eat in Tokyo - in one word - unbeatable.

Do you agree? Disagree? Have you been there? Let me know by leaving a comment.

Opening Hours: 10:30am-4am
Address in English: 1-17-1 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, (Ikebukuro Station East Exit)
Address in Japanese: 東京都豊島区南池袋1-17-1崎本ビル1F