With the 2020 Olympics on the horizon, restaurateurs in Tokyo are already thinking about how they can appeal to the crowds of foreign tourists set to descend on the city. Most of them are focusing on spiffing up their English menus and adding pictures, but some eateries are actually cooking up new menu ideas to appeal to the non-Japanese palate.

We got word that a ramen shop in Shinjuku had concocted just such a dish, so we naturally went to check it out.

Niku Niku Ramen, which translates as “Meat Meat Ramen,” is a noodle shop in the office district of Nishi Shinjuku. They had already caught our attention with their meat-focused approach, but then we discovered an even more interesting option on their menu.



This wouldn’t Asia without some weird Engrish and superfluous punctuation, so that alone wouldn’t necessarily have stood out, but we did raise an eyebrow at the Japanese text above. It says this menu item is targeted at foreigners.


It looked like ramen just topped with sukiyaki, a classic Japanese dish. For those of you that have never tried it, sukiyaki is a hot-pot dish of beef, tofu and vegetables simmered in a broth sweetened with sugar and mirin. It is very tasty, but some foreigners balk at the last step of the preparation: dipping each bite in raw egg.

This didn’t seem like a necessary addition to ramen, which is already quite popular among tourists, but we forged ahead.

▼ Not just sukiyaki, but THE sukiyaki! Hold on to your butts


Sweet ramen!


A few minutes after placing our order, a piping hot bowl of THE SUKIYAKI! JAPANESE SPRIT!! arrived before us. Sure enough, the sukiyaki staples were all there, beef, tofu, veggies, raw egg, even a couple bunches of gelatinous konnyaku noodles. Of course, there were regular ramen noodles lurking underneath and the customary naruto fish cake. This was ramen… and sukiyaki.

We dug in.

Wow! This was ramen… and sukiyaki, all right, but the two flavors actually meshed quite well. You can really taste the sweetness of sukiyaki in the toppings and soup, but the konnyaku noodles cleanse the palate before it becomes overwhelming. The first bites were quite tasty.

However, the volume was a challenge. After a while, the sweetness becomes a little cloying, particularly after the noodles have absorbed more of the soup. Unlike a regular bowl of ramen, we didn’t have any desire to sip the soup once the noodles were done. All in all, it was a good choice for people who like sukiyaki, but we have our doubts whether it will really be a huge hit with foreigners.

If you make it to Tokyo sometime between now and 2020, why not head over to Niku Niku Ramen and tell us what you think!

Shop Info
Niku Niku Ramen, Nishishinjuku branch
7-9-15 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku

Hours: 11am-5am every day







Photos: RocketNews24
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