Join one reporter’s quest to define the undefinable.

Our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun loves ramen a bit more than the average person. He loves it so much that he tries to learn about all types of ramen out there, even the more obscure ones like chocolate ramen. He recently learned about “Chan-kei Ramen” (the suffix “kei” literally means “group”, and is used to refer to a type or style of ramen) from online ramen forums.

“Chan-style Ramen” or “Chan Ramen” storefronts look more or less the same, but they’re not a chain restaurant; they’re distinctive from each other by the restaurants’ names, which are usually someone’s name followed by “chan”. For example, P.K. tried out Nagi-Chan Ramen in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood…

…and Kuma-Chan Ramen, also in Shinjuku.

Along with their signage, Chan Ramen is also similar in flavor. After trying both Nagi-Chan and Kuma-Chan’s chuuka soba–or Chinese-style ramen–he surmised that Chan Ramen typically has a salty soy sauce-based soup, a particularly delicious and thinly-cut chashu pork slice, and is best enjoyed with a side of rice.

For reference: Nagi-Chan Ramen…

…and Kuma-Chan Ramen.

They say two times is coincidence, but three times is proof; so would P.K.’s final taste test prove his theories right? To test them out, he found himself at Chie-Chan Ramen near JR Kanda Station in Tokyo.

He wasted no time in ordering the Chashu Noodles for 1,200 yen (US$7.91), which also came with one optional free serving of rice. Figuring he’d be in for a salty ride, P.K. asked for it with rice.

The piping hot noodles he was served certainly looked like Nagi-Chan and Kuma-Chan noodles. It had a soy sauce-based soup with a generous serving of chashu pork.

The noodles were of an average thickness and slid down the throat easily. As expected, the broth was salty; P.K. was grateful he’d ordered the rice.

The only notable difference P.K. could pick out was that Chie-Chan’s chashu was thicker than Nagi-Chan’s and Kuma-Chan’s.

So his final conclusion was: Chan Ramen has a salty soy sauce broth that goes well with rice, noodles that go down easy, and chashu that packs a flavorful punch.

P.K. took to the Internet to confirm some of his findings. When he searched “Chan Ramen”, he found out that Chan Ramen was sort of a chain store–they are affiliated restaurants. The ultimate goal of Chan Ramen is to increase awareness of chuuka soba. It also turned out that Chie-Chan Ramen is the original Chan Ramen!

So in summary, Chan Ramen is the go-to place for a steaming bowl of salty, pork-y, umami-filled chuuka soba. Some of them are open quite early and late, so they’re also great places to stop when little else is open.

Restaurant information
Chie-Chan Ramen / ちえちゃんラーメン
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kajicho 2-13-7
Open Mondays 10 a.m. – 5 a.m. (next day); Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays 8 a.m. – 5 a.m. (next day); Fridays, Saturdays 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sundays 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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