So, you’re a loyal RocketNews24 reader. You’ve seen us posting about ramen, possibly the greatest food ever, and always wanted a nice big bowl of your own to scarf down. But an international flight to Japan is both expensive and exhausting, so it’s remained little more than a dream for you. You lie awake at night, tossing and turning, as thoughts of hot noodles, thick, delicious broth, and perfectly sliced pork dash through your head. Well, now you can finally put an end to your torture! If you live in New York that is. Otherwise, you’ll have to keep saving for that flight.

A few months back, one of our esteemed Japanese writers found himself in New York and decided to check out one of the city’s finest ramen shops: Totto Ramen. Here’s his thoughts on the Japanese restaurant! Does it measure up??

▼ We’re not sure, but it might be time to replace that menu…totto6

Ramen or yakitori?

It turns out that Totto was started by a yakitori (grilled chicken on a skewer) restaurant owner who used the leftover chicken in the ramen broth—the thought of which is just about enough to drive anyone mad with hunger. With a bit of rice added for enhancement, the broth has a mild-but-distinct flavor. All of this adds up to one of the most popular ramen shops in New York City—and one that leaves even Japanese people saying “Umaaaaaaaaaai!”

▼ Is that Don Draper??totto7

Hope you’re ready to wait…

Aside from the ramen, Totto is also famous for long lines. Trying to be a bit sneaky, our Japanese reporter decided to arrive late and got to the shop at 11 pm. Who would expect a line at that time of night, right? Probably anyone who’s been to Totto before, we guess, since he still had to wait 20 minutes just to get inside! Jeez, we don’t even want to think about what it’s like at their peak time. Though one person we talked to reported going to a nearby bar to wait…for two hours!

▼ After surviving the brutal wait, they reward you with…water!totto3

But what’s it like once you get inside?

To begin with, Totto is narrow and tiny, like a proper ramen restaurant. There’s a counter with stools in addition to regular tables, just like the average ramen joint in Japan. Looking around the restaurant, it seems like our reporter was a bit amused by seeing all these Americans sitting shoulder to shoulder, slurping up their noodles.

Settling into a seat, he ordered the popular “Totto Chicken Paitan ramen.” Ringing in at $9.75 (or about 975 yen for those of you in Japan), it sounds like this New York ramen shop didn’t leave out any of the Japanese details.

▼ “Cash Only”? Talk about authentic!totto4

So…how was it??

Around 15 minutes later, a hot bowl of “Totto Chicken Paitan ramen” was sitting in front of our reporter. He noted that it looked a bit like tonkotsu, but the actual taste was all chicken. The bowl was also chipped, but who cares about that!?

How did it taste??

▼ So hungry right now!totto1

“Ohhhh, it was delicious!!” he told us as our mouths began to water. “The really thick soup perfectly matched the noodles! It was just so rich! The chashu (roasted pork fillet) was dribbling with oil. Waiting until I was really hungry was such a good idea! But, you know, as I ate, I started to notice something a bit strange. The broth was greasier and thicker than I had expected.”

Ramen that deserves to be tasted at least once


With the broth as greasy as it was, it might be a bit too much for the average Japanese person. However, our reporter surmised that this was probably a good fit for North American taste buds, so if you’re in New York or will be in New York soon, be sure to swing by Totto Ramen and try it out. It may not be 100 percent exactly like Japanese ramen, but it’s close! And incredibly delicious.

Be sure to bring a few books with you, though. You’ll have some time to kill…

▼Must. Eat. Ramen. NOOOOOOW!!!

[ Read in Japanese ]