The thing to order here is the yuzu shio ramen, a delightfully and surprisingly bright chicken broth that’s been spiked with the citrus notes of yuzu. With that, of course, come all of the fixins: noodles, hard-boiled egg, char siu (pork belly that’s been grilled over charcoal right before it lands in your bowl), bamboo shoots, mustard greens, and a sheet of dried seaweed. To get the right bowl, the one that people line up for at all hours, familiarize yourself with the ramen-ticket machines at Afuri—and common at ramen-ya throughout Tokyo: Insert some cash first and then select the items you want to order. A ticket will be printed for each order, which you’ll then hand over to a staffer. And by all means, explore the options beyond the yuzu shio ramen! There’s seasonal ramen to discover, as well as tsukemen (cold noodles with dipping sauce) for warmer weather—plus vegan and gluten-free noodles made of shiritaki (Japanese yams). Oh, and it’s not only okay to slurp; it’s encouraged.
If the prospect of the most photogenic little pancakes doesn’t draw you into Sarutahiko, we don’t know what will. This café is clean and minimalist in the Scandinavian way with its rough, untreated wood, streams of light, and unadorned tables. All the beans come from the café’s own roaster, and in a city where the coffee scene is still flourishing, these guys are at the top of their game.
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