It’s not often we meet a bowl of ramen that leaves us speechless.

As you may or may not know, the SoraNews24 team is pretty much comprised of ramen connoisseurs. We’ve tried matcha ramen and mud-based ramen, but we recently encountered an entirely new genre of ramen. When we heard about the existence of a so-called “smoked ramen” shop in Tokyo, our writer Daiki Nishimoto just had to go.

Kemuri (meaning “smoke” in Japanese) is a smoked ramen restaurant located in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro neighborhood; specifically, it’s just a four-minute walk from Kanamecho Station.

▼ It’s not exactly the most common name for a ramen shop, so Daiki was a little taken aback at first.

As soon as Daiki entered the shop, he was blasted by the strong aroma of smoke. They weren’t kidding around. He went straight to the order ticket machine located by the door and browsed the menu. Since it was his first time, he decided to play it safe with a soy sauce ramen and chose “Kunsoba Shoyu” for 750 yen (US$6.82).

▼ The menu is all in Japanese, but maybe you’ll be able to tell how basic or loaded each menu item is by looking at the price.

As Daiki waited for his order, he relaxed as he was enveloped even further by a smoky scent so encompassing that he felt as if he were starting to be smoked (in a good way, if that makes sense). Soon enough, the ramen came.

It was like no ramen he’d ever seen before, honestly, especially smell-wise.

The ingredients soaked in the soup were practically gleaming in the deep ramen bowl. Daiki claims that with bowls this deep, it’s almost impossible that its contents will taste anything less than delicious.

But when he picked up his chopsticks and brought the first noodles to his mouth, he felt almost a knee-jerk reaction to the newness of it all. How was he to describe it?

It was fresh, but the aroma and flavor were so deep and, well, smoky that it was hard to focus on anything else. It wasn’t smoky in a bad way, though. When he asked one of the shop staff in further detail about the ramen, he found out that not only are the ingredients smoked; the broth itself is also smoked. It. Was. Delicious!

Once he knew the secret of the soup, Daiki took a moment to really analyze it. It was indeed smoky, but it was mellow and relaxing. Before he knew it, he’d reached the bottom of the bowl.

But after it was all said and done, Daiki still struggled to put it into words. “Go and try it for yourself,” he urged everyone else on the team. Even after composing this article, he still hasn’t been able to put into words exactly what he experienced that day; and it’s an experience he’d like to have again and again.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]