Monday, April 24, 2006

★★★ 光麺 (Koumen) - Tokyo

Koumen is a huge ramen chain store in Tokyo that has over 10 stores in the area. I've been to 3 different stores so far and the quality has been supurb. Koumen stores are very sophisticatedly decorated with stained dark wood counters and studio lights, making the ramen experience seem trendy enough for even couples on a date. The ramen I tried this specific day was the 熟成光麺 (jyukusei-koumen), where the ramen toppings are served separately form the soup and noodles.

The Soup - is a Tokyo style tonkotsu soup. Thick and creamy flavored with shoyu, this soup had very little of the tonkotsu smell. Rather than the typical white tonkotsu broth, this soup is of a golden color. This soup was so thick that it almost had the texture of a stew or chowder, I enjoyed the flavor a lot but by the end it felt a little heavy and I wasn't able to finish all the soup.

The Noodles - were slightly thinner 縮れ麺 (crooked noodles) cooked quite on the firmer side. The soup is thick and wraps around the noodles with ease, every bite is just a barrage of rich texture and flavor.

The Toppings - are good. It comes with the standard cha-shu pork and menma bamboo, but also comes with some deep fried garlic slices, boiled green vegetables and boiled egg. The garlic slices go great with the tonkotsu soup, and the boiled egg is amazing too. I believe they boil the egg in some kind of rich broth where it just explodes with flavor. And I thought that the soup was rich... the boiled egg topped that even more.

Overall - Koumen lets you indulge in one of the richest, most flavorful ramen out there. The flavor itself might not be very sophisticated, but sometimes you can be in the mood for something straightforward like this. I am usually not a big fan of the huge corporate ramen chains, but I must give Koumen an exception. You could always try to Shoyu Koumen or Shio Koumen if you want something lighter.


At 4:51 PM, Blogger Milkman said...

I love Koumen! I was having a conversation about ramen today, and I looked up Koumen to illustrate a point, and your excellent, detailed blog came up. Now I'm hungry! And San Francisco doesn't have anything that compares to Koumen, or Ippudo, or Ichiran. SIGH.

Yes, Tampopo is an amazing movie. Ugh, now I want to go watch that too. Keep up the great work!


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