★★★★ すずらん (Suzuran) - Tokyo
Suzuran is an awesome ramen place in Shibuya that has quickly become one of my favorites in Japan. Located on the East side (the less busy side) of Shibuya station, it is just a short 5 minute walk from the train station. The store is a clean and brightly lit bar style ramen shop that barely seats a dozen people. I went there on a hot summer evening and the place was crowded with a short line waiting inside the shop. I ordered the first item on their menu, the 中華そば (chuka soba) or Chinese noodles.
The Soup - is absolutely delicious. A simple yet deep chicken soup that has the right balance of different flavors and aroma. What a nice change pf pace from the heavy tonkotsu soups or complex double blended soups.
The Noodles - are thin straight noodles that are cooked really firm. A solid ramen which texture and flavor match the soup perfectly.
The Toppings - are simple yet good as well. The cha-shu pork is thin and tender, not much seasoning to it, just the natural sweetness of the pork. The were a few cuts of Chinese spinach, menma bamboo, and diced spring onions as well.
Overall - the Chuka soba ramen was great, but what made me fall in love with this place is the large variety of other ramen available here. They have over 20 different ramen dishes all of which looked temtping, but what caught my attention was the 味噌中華そば (miso chuka soba) which uses very thick, flat noodles instead, and 麻油鶏麺 (sesame oil chicken noodles) which is a Chinese food stand favorite of mine.
Suzuran not only has great ramen, but the nice atmosphere and interesting wide selection makes me want to come back again. If you are in the Shibuya area (if you visit Tokyo, you are bound to visit Shibuya once), then drop by this place and give it a try. Just hope the lines aren't too long.