A tip-off from a local opens the door to a wonderful way to feed our desire for Japanese food.

If you love sushi as much as you love ramen, there’s a culinary heaven waiting for you at Sushi Ramen Tsurikin in Yokohama. Located a short 30-minute train ride from central Tokyo, this restaurant is loved by locals, one of whom tipped us off to it by sending our Japanese-language team a recommendation that read:

“The ramen at Tsurikin, a niboshi ramen restaurant near Yokohama Station, also serves sushi. The ramen itself is also quite unique, but they serve nigiri sushi and seafood bowls too, either as a set or individually.

The quality of the ramen and sushi is so high that you can’t tell whether it’s a ramen restaurant or a sushi restaurant, and some of the options include red vinegar nigiri, tuna soup, and daily specials.”

That sounded like a dream come true for our reporter Seiji Nakazawa, who loves sushi and ramen so much he was once told off by a home economics teacher when he put them on the same menu for an assignment. While that teacher advised him to pay more attention to balance when devising meal plans, now that he was an adult, he felt free to throw caution to the wind, so he hopped on a train to Yokohama to indulge in this dreamy calorific combination.

▼ Tsurikin has several stores in Kanagawa, but the one Seiji visited was the closest Tsuruyamachi branch near Yokohama Station.

The store’s commitment to noodles and niboshi (dried sardine) broth is made clear on signs outside the store, with one reading, “If you don’t like niboshi, please refrain from visiting.

However, when you look at the ticket vending machine inside the store, you can see that ramen isn’t the only thing on the menu, with sushi available by the piece, covering options like medium fatty tuna nigiri (hand-moulded sushi), and salmon temaki (hand-rolled seaweed-covered sushi).

There were a lot of options to choose from, so Seiji opted for the Red Sea Bream Chinese Soba and 8 Pieces of Red Vinegar Nigiri Set (2,200 yen [US$14.17]) which was listed as the “Manager’s Recommendation”.

▼ When it arrived, he knew he’d made the right choice.

It was no wonder this was a highly recommended set — the ramen looked absolutely delicious…

▼…and so did the sushi!

The fact that the sushi arrived on a geta, a small wooden pedestal usually seen at high-end sushi bars, was a very nice touch, and the neta (sushi toppings) looked incredibly plump and fresh.

The meal looked like it was worth far more than what he’d paid for it, and when Seiji tried the medium fatty tuna, he was pleased to find it had a delicious, melt-in-the-mouth quality. 

The sushi rice wasn’t overly sweet, with the flavour profile tipping more towards the sour side of things, thanks to the red vinegar, which added a delicious depth of flavour to both the rice and the fish.

However, what really surprised Seiji was the ramen, because when he took a big slurp of it…

▼…the taste of the sushi became even more delicious!

The saltiness of the broth, combined with the richness of the sea bream stock, gave the sushi a refreshing finish, as if it were washing the fat from the fish away from the tongue.

Seiji felt as if his tongue was being revived with every slurp of ramen, keeping each bite of fish as fresh as the first. The broth acted like a fine wine pairing, both enhancing and refreshing the palate, and keeping his taste buds excited throughout the entire meal.

With the fish purchased daily from the auctions at the Yokohama City Central Wholesale Market auction house, the quality here is excellent, and the commitment to freshness extends to the broth, with about 20 red sea bream used to make the soup stock.

It’s true that both the ramen and the sushi are so great you won’t know whether to describe Tsurikin as a sushi restaurant or ramen restaurant, but one thing we do know is that it’s a heavenly pairing, with just the right amount of salt and vinegar to balance out the flavours in the meal.

So in the end, you can find balance when eating ramen and sushi together in one sitting…if you know where to look. Take that, home economics teacher!

Restaurant information
Sushi Ramen Tsurikin / 鮨らぁー麺 釣りきん
Address: Knagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ku, Tsuruya-cho 2-16-3
Open 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]