Shichisai in Tokyo is a ramen group famous for thick, hand-massaged, hand-cut noodles. What’s more is that they carefully prepare these beautiful noodles for every single order!
Shichisai – A Tale of Two Ramen Shops
There’s Menya Shichisai and Shokudo Shichisai. Both of these ramen shops are run by the same group. Menya is located in Hatchobori, East Tokyo. Shokudo, the original location, is tucked away in Saginomiya, West Tokyo.
For the most part, their big menus are the same. But there’s a special ramen that’s only available at “Shokudo” (the original location). I’m introducing this one first.
Ramen 1 – An Udon-Ramen Hybrid?
The “Inaniwa Chuukasoba” (ramen) is highly influenced by Inaniwa Udon. This is an udon style from Akita prefecture with over 350 years of history. As such, think of the bowl below as a delicious udon-ramen hybrid. Like in Inaniwa udon, the noodles are fantastic. They’re thin, silky, and slippery.
The soup is in this ramen is seasoned with Yugeta soy sauce (shoyu) from Saitama. It’s a little sweet and sour. While the soup is relatively light overall, there’s with a warm depth coming from kelp, fish (namely mackerel and bonito), pork bones and chicken bones. They also add pepper to give it a little kick.
Outside of the negi (spring onions), the toppings are a bit unusual for ramen. The nameko mushrooms (used in Inaniwa Udon) provide a slimy texture. The takenoko (bamboo shoots) provide crunch and the wonderfully soft pieces of chicken replace pork for protein.
A company called Sato Youetsu Honpo is actually behind this bowl. Their main shop is in Akita but several satellite shops serve it too (including Shokudo Shichisai).
Ramen 2 and 3 – Dreamy, Thick Noodles
If you’re after thick noodles, order the “Kitakata Ramen” or the “Niboshi Kitakata Ramen”. The “Kitakata Ramen” features a similarly soft soy sauce-backed soup. But thanks to gamefowl and deer bones, it has a wild flavor too.
But the thick noodles are the star attraction. They’re made from 6 types of wheat flour, including some rarer ones from Tokyo and Saitama. Just in the city of Kitakata, they’re not only big but wavy and full of water.
What’s most impressive is that they prepare them for each individual order. In other words, they’re hand-massaging and cutting the noodles by hand every time! This takes place at both Menya Shichisai and Shokudo Shichisai.
The “Niboshi Kitakata Ramen” also includes these carefully made, thicker noodles. But in the soup, they crank up the fish flavors, drawing from Ibuku niboshi (dried sardines). These little guys pack a smoky and bitter punch.
There’s no udon influence in either of these Kitakata style bowls. The ramen toppings include menma (bamboo shoots), chashu pork, negi (spring onions), and egg.
Ramen 4 and 5 – Christmas Turkey Ramen?
Look out for fun, limited bowls at both of Shichisai’s locations. Below is a “Christmas Wild Turkey Ramen” (Christmas 2020). The soup was purely turkey and salt. It was thick like a holiday gravy and made even thicker because they cooked the noodles in the broth.
The diced red onions helped break up the milky rich soup. They even added turkey meat as toppings.
In the summer, I recommend the “Hiyashi Chuuka” (below). This is a cold ramen. In their version, the toppings are fun and refreshing. You have cucumbers, strips of chili, and shiso adding red and green panache.
The soup has a concentrated shoyu (soy sauce) flavor, with mainly sweetness and sourness colliding. These flavors are intensified from the cherry tomatoes and yuzu citrus.
Of course, the thinner noodles are still given the the Shichisai touch. They have an incredible texture to them.
In summary, no matter what you order at Menya Shichisai or Shokudo Shichisai, they will deliver the ramen goods!
Menya Shichisai Hours: 11 am ~ 3 pm / 5 pm ~ 10 pm (closed on Tue)
Shokudo Shichisai Hours: 11:30 am ~ 3 pm / 6 pm ~ 12 am
Check out the Christmas Turkey Ramen in the video below!
Also check out Tokyo ramen shop Daruma – the owner here trained at Shichisai!