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Shinjuku tsukemen

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    Chocolate Ramen? Visit Samurai-Themed Chain “Menya Musashi”

    You read that right…Japan ramen chain “Menya Musashi” sometimes offers intriguing limited-time dishes. This past Valentine’s, the menu included chocolate tsukemen. Note: tsukemen is similar to ramen but the broth, used for dipping, is served separately from the noodles.

    Chocolate Ramen Visit Samurai-Themed Chain Menya Musashi

    Shinjuku flagship store exterior

    Like their Valentine’s chocolate tsukemen, Menya Musashi will continue to whip up crazy, limited-time dishes in the future. But even these dishes are the real deal, more than just a novelty. The pictures below are from Menya Musashi’s Shinjuku flagship store.

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    The chocolate broth was not overwhelmingly chocolately, but savory like a proper tsukemen broth should be. The chocolate slightly accentuated the broth, instead of dominating it like a chocolate dessert sauce might. In Mexican cuisine, I believe chocolate is used in a similar sparing way to create “mole” sauce.

    The noodles themselves lay beneath beautiful sheets of chashu (pork belly), light greens and a chocolate powder-covered ball also with chocolate inside. Chocolate lovers would surely faint. To top it all off, there’s an aesthetically-pleasing Lotte mini chocolate bar on the chashu.

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    If not a limited time dish, you’re welcome to try Menya Musashi’s signature ramen or tsukemen. At the same Shinjuku flagship store, their flagship ramen is as below. I got all the trimmings, which includes 2 big chunks of chashu. The ramen broth is composed of both chicken and pork bone and also bonito and dried sardine.

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    Both their ramen and tsukemen are quite salty. So if you’re looking for a creamier dish, this might not be your cup of tea. But there’s a reason why Menya Musashi is so popular, with people lining up in droves. Some like the salty component of the broth and others are fans of their high-quality flat and thick noodles.

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    Killer noodles

    Others, especially visitors to Japan, are fans of the fun samurai theme. Menya Musashi is named after a samurai who apparently wielded 2 swords: Miyamoto Musashi. An illustration of this Musashi fellow is part of the chain’s logo.

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    All counter seating

    All pictures below are from their Shibuya store, which is close to Dogenzaka.

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    Shibuya store exterior

    Have a look at the Vending Machine picture below. Buttons with pictures at the top, left to right): Rich broth tsukemen with chashu, Regular tsukemen with chashu, Rich broth tsukemen with chashu and egg, Miso ramen with chashu. Which one of these is not like the other?

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    I actually opted to skip the big chashu, which is available with all 4 of the picture buttons above. I just got Rich broth tsukemen with egg. On the vending machine, this is the black colored button – 2nd row down, 2nd from the left. The yellow row is for Regular tsukemen (less rich). If you’re confused, just choose from the 1st 4 pictured buttons.

    Their Rich broth tsukemen is both sweet and salty, with little chunks of chashu in the broth adding to an already strong salty flavor. Very nice.

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    Even at 3:00 pm in Shibuya on weekdays there can be a steady stream of people waiting to get in.

    Menya Musashi is certainly an experience, with each store having their own unique ramen or tsukemen. There are 14 stores throughout Tokyo, including other major stations like Ueno, Akihabara (2 there), and Ikebukuro.

    For more info on their Shinjuku & Shibuya stores, see below!

    SHINJUKU Branch 

    Address: 7-2-6 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (東京都 新宿区 西新宿 7-2-6 K1ビル1F)
    Train Stations: Shinjuku (many Lines), Seibu Shinjuku (Seibu Shinjuku Line)
    Shop Hours: Everyday: 11:30~22:30 (Last order 22:30)

    SHIBUYA Branch 

    Address: 2-8-5 Dogenzaka Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (東京都 渋谷区 道玄坂 2-8-5)
    Train Station: Shibuya (many Lines)
    Shop Hours: Everyday: 11:30~22:30