I visited the Akihabara location of Kyushu Jangara (九州じゃんがら) on the final day of my winter vacation trip. In fact it was on my way to the airport, my bags checked into one of the many train station coin lockers. (You can pick up the Tokyo Monorail at Hamamatsucho, a few stations away off the JR Yamanote Line, which takes you straight to Haneda.)
Jangara seems to have recently topped a certain ramen popularity list, and finally having experienced a bowl myself I'm not at all surprised. The ever popular Hakata-style creamy tonkotsu here is offered in several variations from the pure tonkotsu rich and also spicy - Karabon, to several miso flavored that includes the milder Mugichan, to fish and shellfished tsukemen Tsukechan, to the soupless mazemen Mazechan.
I went for the signature (and most popular) Kyushu Jangara with the slightly milder soup, the pork bone stock mellowed with additional use of chicken bones and vegetables.
Just greasy enough and not over the top, I found the blend still quite luscious and flavorful where it was easy to imagine how it can win so many fans, many that I know female.
With my option of Zenbu-iri (全部入り) 'with everything' I got to also enjoy my bowl slowly transform in flavor over time. The standard toppings of chashu, menma, scallions and kikurage wood ear mushroom are further upgraded with two hunks of kakuni stewed pork belly, a flavored (hard) boiled egg and a dollop of house mentaiko (pollock roe) mix.
The wirey straight white extra al dente noodles were spot on and orders for extra of these kaedama were being called up left and right. The mentaiko mix was killer in the ramen. I would bet a free meal that at least one of the ingredients is butter (of course!). To finalize my tasty bowl, a bit of shoga ginger and some great spicy karashi takana. Oh yes.
Above, the capsule toy shop of my dreams Gachapon Kaikan. I even passed by Gyuudon Sanbo on my way.. Ugh, if only I had the appetite left. ONE DAY!!
To be honest my personal ramen cravings these days have been more that of the dry-fishy gyokai-kei flavors, but Jangara was definitely a stern reminder that a good bowl of tonkotsu is something I'd never get tired of.. ever. ;)