Among Chofu ramen restaurants, Shibasakitei (柴崎亭 つつじヶ丘本店) is a treasure trove. Their MSG-free ramen is as tasty as the presentation is beautiful.
Chofu Ramen’s Finest
Chofu is a pretty big city in West Tokyo. Among ramen outposts there, Shibata might be the most famous. But my personal pick is Shibasakitei. They live by the following 3 “rules” – “Spare No Effort, Use The Finest Ingredients, and No Chemical Seasoning”.
These 3 rules are vividly clear in the ramen they churn out. Simply put, they’re works of art. Pictured is the shoyu (soy sauce) ramen + dumplings. These dumplings have a silky smooth exterior and a juicy interior.
The soy sauce seasoning is slightly sweet (from mirin) and sour. Overall, it’s quite bold and authoritative too. Since they’re not using any chemical seasoning, there’s a certain purity to it all.
We know that the soup includes chicken bones and shiitake mushrooms. They’re secretive about the rest of it. You have subtle hints of chicken that are accompanied by hints of fish. The dumplings also add a meatiness to the soup.
Shio Niboshi Ramen – My Number One
But my favorite isn’t the soy sauce-seasoned ramen. It’s the shio (salt-seasoned) bowl. Even though it’s still quite punchy, the salt seasoning is much softer compared to the robust soy sauce.
Being a softer conductor, the soup ingredients emerge more dramatically. But they still do so in a quiet way. It’s like an actual conductor signaling the strings section to carefully enter a movement.
Unlike the previous bowl, this one is more about niboshi (dried sardines). Niboshi can be quite bitter in flavor.
But you don’t get that bitterness here. It’s as if they’re filtered the niboshi over and over through a gentle running mountain creek. Toppings-wise, the biggest difference in this bowl (besides the lack of dumplings) is choice of milder green negi (spring onions).
In both bowls, they use noodles from noodle maker Tamura Seimen.
In conclusion, Shibasakitei is my top pick for Chofu area ramen. However, it’s also one of my top picks for ramen in greater Tokyo.