Nakiryu (創作麺工房 鳴龍) and their spicy ramen (tantanmen) achieved Michelin star fame in 2017. They’ve understandably become busy since then. Here’s what to know if you plan to visit!
Nakiryu - How to Order
At Ramen Atelier Nakiryū (their full name), you just line up and wait. The wait time could be anywhere from 20 minutes to 2+ hours. I’d recommend arriving well before the doors open at 11:30 am.
Since big renovations in 2022, they've been using a new ticket machine for ordering. Along with Japanese, there's English and Chinese.
What to Order - The Tantanmen
All of Nakiryu’s ramen are top of the line. But their original tantanmen is their best seller and most famous ramen.
They arguably have one of the most refined tantanmen (dan dan noodles) bowls out there. Nakiryu’s tantanmen broth is similar to a style started by Chinese restaurant Sichuan Hanten in Akasaka (赤坂四川飯店), Tokyo.
That is, raiyu chili oil and sesame paste float at the very top, separate from a light chintan broth below. The broth is slightly sour from black vinegar and apple vinegar but also meaty from the minced pork.
It’s comprised of a range of things – including whole chickens, oysters, and beef bones.
Thin noodles beautifully pick up the nutty broth, which also includes bits of chopped green and white negi. If you’re curious to know more about the history of tantanmen, CLICK HERE.
Click below to see me review (video) their instant ramen! You can also buy this top-level instant ramen here.
Wonderful Shoyu Ramen
While they’re known for their tantanmen, Nakiryu's shoyu (soy sauce) ramen is no slouch. It’s actually one of my favorite shoyu bowls in Tokyo.
There's a beautiful whole chicken flavor in the soup and it's only strengthened by goldenly rich pork fat.
Like the tantanmen, it’s minimalistic in appearance. Green negi (spring onions) adorn the center and menma (bamboo shoots) are hiding below again.
The sliced pork chashu (not minced) and egg are so soft they fall apart when you pick them up. You’ll find the same thin noodles here too.
Delicate Shio Ramen
Their shio (salt) seasoned ramen is on the softer side. If you're seeking a lighter bowl, this one's for you. They blend more fish into the soup as well. The soup actually has over 20 ingredients.
The toppings are similar but little bits of dried garlic make it a punchier ramen.
Tantanmen Tsukemen - My Favorite
This might be my favorite ramen here. It's their signature tantanmen, but in dipping ramen form (tsukemen). They use the wonderful soup but there's a base of tomato at the bottom of the noodles.
This touch of tomato adds refreshing acidity alongside the rich broth. Furthermore, instead of minced pork, there's fatty pieces of broiled pork. The sheet of seaweed and stalk of green are also unique to the tsukemen.
The noodles maintain even more of their firmness in this dish.
Verdict – Worth the Hype?
If your time in Tokyo is limited and you don’t care about Michelin bragging rights, there are other great bowls of tantanmen in the city.
Hashigo in Ginza, for example, serves a similar style and doesn't have a long wait. But if you do have the time, Nakiryu is well worth the visit. Think of it as a tantanmen pilgrimage.
Curious about the first ramen shop to receive a Michelin star? CLICK HERE.