Tokyo: Mutekiya/ Ichiran Ramen, Gyukatsu Motomura, Dominique Ansel, & Shake Shack

Whenever I return to Japan, I have this impossibly long list of food that I MUST eat. This list includes those that I have eaten before, and those that I want to try.

Inevitably I never get to complete my list - EVEN TWO WEEKS IS TOO LITTLE - but each trip, I chip away at this ever-growing list of Things I Must Eat in Japan™.

Food is love, food is life... and these were the food that stood out to me during my trip to Tokyo in December 2017 (I am finally going to be done blogging about this trip, almost 6 months later... not too bad!).

1) Mutekiya Ramen

I ate at Mutekiya in 2013, which I blogged about briefly here. After 4 years, I was back again... to eat the same exact dish I had in 2013, I believe.

Food, once attached to a certain memory, becomes something comforting. 4 years after eating this, I was brought back again to how I had trouble finding this place with K, how I struggled to order in Japanese, and how comforting I found the bowl of thick broth ramen as my breakfast in the cold (I had this for breakfast too this time around).

This time, knowing how popular Mutekiya is with tourists, I turned up with my group before opening time at 10:30AM. Yet there were already 5 or 6 people in front of me waiting for the shop to open. The staff were already handing out menus, asking us for our orders at least 15 minutes before we could enter the shop.

The amount of tourists in Tokyo in December is too damn high (yes, myself included).

I got the gyoza to share, but the bowl of ramen by itself was enough to serve as breakfast AND lunch combined, considering the amount and how thick the broth was.

I watched in amazement as the THIN Japanese man next to me not only finished eating his ramen bowl,  but also got an extra rice bowl to pour the broth in and... ate it all up too.

What's their metabolism secret? I want to know!!!

2) Ichiran Ramen 

If you went to Japan and didn`t go to Ichiran ramen, did you REALLY go to Japan?

I feel like Ichiran needs no introduction, but in short - ramen place that caters to solo eaters, and you don't have to see any of the staff that serves you. Ever.

A lot of Ichiran places are open 24 hours, but I feel like in Tokyo, no matter which hour you go, THERE IS ALWAYS A FREAKING LINE FOR ICHIRAN RAMEN.

My friends liked this ramen place so much, we went twice (and some went thrice, actually).

It may not have Michelin stars or even be the most delicious ramen (subject to your taste buds, anyway), but it is definitely one of the most comfortingly tasty meals.

I like mine with a generous serving of chili.

3) Gyukatsu Motomura 

Yet another tourist-famous place I wanted to try out was Gyukatsu Motomura. Deep-fried breaded beef cutlets, the likes of which I CANNOT find in Kuala Lumpur.

I got to Shibuya Station, and walked all the way to their main store which was shown in Google Maps.

Once again, there was a HUGE LINE outside, complete with people of all nationalities in the line. I was fretting that we wouldn't be able to get in as it was nearing closing time in about 1.5 hours, but since no one was around to chase us away we continued to stand in line for about half an hour.

Someone finally came out from the basement restaurant, and we watched as everyone in line in front of us slowly left. The staff finally got to us, and shivering in the cold, told us that it'd be a 2 hour wait or so if we continued waiting.


"There is only 9 seats below, and this shop is the most popular because it's the main one..." he says apologetically. "However, you can go to one of our branches, it's located quite nearby..."

He then gives us a flyer, and the shop he referred to was... located all the way back in the direction we walked from for about 10 minutes.


I wasn't about to give up on my gyukatsu, and luckily my group went along with me, which was how we ended up waiting in line (again) for gyukatsu in Gyukatsu Motomura Shibuya Dogenzaka. There is actually 3 or 4 branches of Gyukatsu Motomura in the Shibuya area itself, though to walk from one to another would take up some time.

In any case, the line at the Dogenzaka branch was so much shorter, with only 5 people in front of us. We commenced waiting (only in Japan will I be willing to walk and wait like this for food, when I have all the free time in the world) again, and once again ordered from the menu while we were in line.

Half an hour later, we were presented with this glorious sight before us.

It could be that I was tremendously hungry, BUT IT ALL TASTED SO GOOD. The piping hot miso soup, the glistening rice, the crispy cabbage, AND of course, the meat! THE MEAT!

There was a tiny charcoal grill in front of each seat to further grill the beef to a chewiness and texture of your liking, but it was also good as it was originally.

Would I wait in line again for this? Yes, but not at the main branch. 2 hours is not worth most things, unless it's at least RM10,000.00 being given TO me.

That is all.

4) Dominique Ansel 

This is the only thing I didn`t have to wait in line for too long for, considering Dominique Ansel in Ginza is just located in the food basement. All food were for takeaway, and so I got my very first Dominique Ansel cronut there.

I`ve always wanted to try Dominique Ansel ever since I read about the cronut craze (which was YEARS ago), so my story proves that if you wait long enough (and dream about it/ put effort into it long enough), the things you want will come to you.

I had to save up for practically a year just to eat this *tear*. Thank you Dominique for coming to Japan, because I sure as heck can't go to America for A LONG TIME to eat this (flight ticket, currency exchange, etc etc).

5) Shake Shack 

"Why would you go to Japan to eat Shake Shack?"


Anyway, all I can recall at this point is that

a) the line at Shake Shack Kita-Aoyama was long but quick-moving,
b) the staff didn't allow for people to wait at tables until they ordered, which I thought was quite nice - don't be inconsiderate,
b) there were some winter specials drinks, which we got, and
c) it was all delicious.

Now that I've typed this out, I feel like half of the time all I did in Tokyo was to wait for food. Luckily they were worth the wait (though it definitely depends on the people you're waiting with, if they're whiny Nancies then never mind, let's go).

Thank you, Japan, for the 1.5KG I gained despite all the walking I did. It was worth it.

"I WANT TO GO BACK SOON!" <- my frequent lamentation about Japan.