Mendokoro Zukan (麺処「図鑑」) is a fantastic Shibuya ramen popup only open for lunch. They're easy to miss if you don't know where to look.
Mendokoro Zukan - Tucked Away Ramen in Shibuya
In Tokyo, curry popups are common. They'll often take over a restaurant's space ("magari") just for lunchtime. Ramen popups like Mendokoro Zukan are not as common. That's what makes them so special.
Only open for lunch four days a week, they borrow space from a second floor izakaya called 209 Stand. It feels like a floating ramen shop with its open-air vibe.
Delicious Chicken Ramen
From what I've heard, their menu takes two different forms depending on the day:
1) Oyster Based Ramen
2) Chicken Based Ramen
I've visited on a chicken ramen day. Choose shoyu (soy sauce) or shio (salt) for the seasoning. Pictured is the shoyu. The soup it carries is a blend of several high-grade chicken, including Hinai-jidori from Akita and Tokyo shamo (gamefowl).
The shoyu foundation is relatively soft, which makes way for a beautiful whole chicken flavor. But these chicken flavors don't overwhelm - there's a delicate balance in the soup. The two mounds of green are negi (spring onions) and komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach).
In addition, there's white negi (spring onions) floating about. They add a touch of sweetness to the warm chicken soup. You're treated to both pork and chicken chashu toppings. The pork slices are broiled and wonderfully smoky.
Miso Ramen with Mackerel
These are two ingredients you don't normally see agreeing to share space in ramen. But it works! A vivid miso flavor steers the soup in this limited time bowl. In the background is saba (mackerel). It punches through at the end of each sip.
The white pool with red chili pepper running through it looks like soy milk. But it's salmon milt. Look that up. It might not be for everyone. But flavor-wise, it's quite mild. The same chashu (meat toppings) are in this bowl.
They have a bit of bounce to them in terms of texture. But this miso ramen also includes minced pork. There's a slice of deep-fried pumpkin to replace the negi and spinach. I believe they use the same noodles in all bowls. They're thin and chewy.
A Unique Ramen Experience
Being on the second floor and without any "ramen" signs on the first floor, this ramen popup is practically hidden. This makes them a cozy retreat from the crowds of Shibuya. They're only open four days a week (closed on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays).
Mendokoro Zukan isn't just dabbling in ramen either. They're serving high-level, delicious ramen that would give other ramen shops a run for their money.
Shop Hours: Sun: 11 am ~ 2:30 pm / Mon, Tue, Wed: 11:30 am ~ 2:30 pm