Posted August 7, 2013on:
The Tokyo Skytree is one of those recently opened attractions built to draw in the tourists, like a much more modern version of the Tokyo Tower.
Having missed out on visiting the Tokyo Tower the last time I was in town, I decided to hit the Skytree – alas the weather was not cooperative and there was pretty much no point in going up.
However that wasn’t my real motive for visiting the Skytree!
I was really here to have lunch at Rokurinsha! It’s one of Tokyo’s most famous tsukemen restaurants, with queues spanning an insane length of 300+ people at the original shop in Osaki.
This original outlet closed in 2010 but by then there was already one branch at the Tokyo Ramen Street, and now one here at the Skytree.
Much like the original shop, the queues here get real long and snake around the entire floor of the Skytree’s Solamachi mall complex.
Signs at each section tell you where to queue, where are the breaks, and how long you can expect to wait in each section.
Here’s their menu but the decision was easy for me – I just went for the recommended Tokusei Tsukemen set.
I bought a ticket first from the machine at the front of the shop.
Then I joined the queue, in the section where I had an estimated waiting time of 30 mins.
Taking a shot into the restaurant while waiting in queue, it’s packed but the turnover is high.
You can see the young cooks mechanically churning out bowls of tsukemen like clockwork.
A bunch of condiments, and the packets of gyofun (dried fish powder) on the left are for you to tear open and shower on the broth, adding that classic salted fish flavour, not unlike dashi powder.
This is the broth and noodles. The broth is nice and hot, with a rich and complex flavour which is a result from combining many ingredients into it. I quote from SeriousEats’s review:
It turns out that in addition to pork bones, the broth is made with chicken bones, niboshi (dried baby sardines), sababushi (dried, smoked mackerel flakes) and katsuobushi (dried, smoked bonito flakes), along with vegetables. In the broth were negi (looks like a leek, but treated like a green onion, though it’s less sharp in flavor), a slice of chashu (fatty braised pork), naruto (a type of fish cake), menma (fermented bamboo), a small sheet of nori (seaweed)
The noodles are somewhat cold though, so you can’t let the broth get too cold otherwise it’s like cold noodles in cold broth which is just not as nice anymore. The noodles are great as well, good springy texture and the surface holds onto the broth quite well after dipping so there’s lots of flavour with each mouthful.
And in case you loved it so much you want more, they let you buy packets to bring home and cook for yourself.
I bought some home and when I made them, I have to say they really tasted just like when I had them in the Skytree!