Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Going Out With A Bang
Yesterday was our last regular day in Japan and unfortunately we had to spend the day dealing with a few chores we had put off. We started the day with Rumi renewing her drivers license at the DMV. From about 11 to 1 she needed to take a two hour course and I was on babysitting duty. I set out to find a last good bowl of ramen despite Rumi's warnings that we were in the middle of nowhere.
I was positive that the DMV being filled with civil servants, good cheap eats had to be nearby. I was shocked how near. Not a two hundred yards, or meters in this case from the huge combination police station DMV was this little gem. Mubo ramen. I considered walking past, actually did by about twenty meters or so, then circled back. This had to be predetermined.
As you can see in the shot on the left, the gentleman was even putting out the sign just as I walked by. Hana and I circled back and sat at the counter to the first, "Irashaimasse" of the day. I of course couldn't read a thing so I simply said, "special" and the guy behind the counter replied with a knowing "Hai."
When the soup arrived I knew I had made the right choice, Yoda and Bobafet were standing on the counter next to the business cards. From the first glance. I knew I was looking at a soup that was unpretentious, well balanced and most importantly, tasty. Yes, I could tell all that from looking.
What struck me here was the simplicity. Three pieces of chashu, which had been rolled and tied, three slices of nori, an unsliced egg, some spring onion and yamakurage, a new one for us this trip. The noodles were very thin, al dente, perfect. I was the first bowl of the day and these guys hit the nail on the head. The chashu was so soft it litteraly tore from its own weight on the chopstick, not to mention melting in the mouth. The broth was shoyu, soy sauce, and had a dark taste, but without the oil of the "gravy-like" broths I have described in earlier posts.
I was sold already, the only question that remained was the egg. It was whole which has often signaled overcooked. This one however was, like the noodles, cooked perfectly. When I sliced it with my chopsticks, the inside ran just slightly and had that bright yellow-orange almost neon glow. I finished the entire bowl and drank about half the broth. A nice early lunch.
Unfortunately our great culinary journey has come to an end, we have an early flight tomorrow and though our airport hotel has three restaurants, none of them are ramen. I've enjoyed the trip though I am looking forward to NY pizza like Christmas.
I gave Mubo 4 1/2 bowls, well earned