The best tonkotsu ramen in Tokyo? Many Tokyoites would bestow this title to Tanaka Shoten. Their Hakata style-tonkotsu ramen is unapologetically heavy and one of most authentic outside of Kyushu.
Tonkotsu Broth that doesn’t Pull any Punches
Hakata Nagahama Tanaka Shoten (博多長浜らーめん 田中商店 本店) ticks all the boxes if you’re seeking a heavy, superbly rich bowl of tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen.
Their soup is boiled for 3 days and they only use pig’s head. Behind the counter you can see the industrial-sized vats where this happens. They’re not messing around.
The result is a broth with a strong gamey flavor and a funky smell that accompanies it. You’ll smell it all as soon as you walk in the door. In short, this is messy tonkotsu that doesn’t hold back!
High-Grade Noodles, Toppings
The bowl’s toppings include ornamental green negi (spring onions) from Hakata, urajiro kikurage (wood ear mushrooms), runny egg (if you order it), grilled, fatty chashu pork to match that fatty broth, and a seaweed sheet with “thank you” printed in 7 languages.
The noodles are your typical Hakata / Nagahama style. They’re dry and have a wonderful bite. Customize your noodle firmness and don’t worry – they have English menus too.
You’ll find an unlimited supply of beni shoga (pickled ginger) and takana (pickled mustard leaf) at each table. Pickle power – both work well to offset the heavy broth. The takana are particularly spicy and my favorite.
Verdict – Best Tonkotsu Ramen in Tokyo?
I personally don’t eat that much tonkotsu ramen (about 50 bowls a year). But when I do, I normally prefer a gentler (smelling and tasting), more modern bowl.
However, every so often I do crave tonkotsu ramen that is no-holds-barred. Tanaka Shoten more than satisfies this craving. Is it the best bowl of tonkotsu ramen in Tokyo? I’ll leave that up to you. But there’s no questioning the authenticity and commitment at Tanaka Shoten.
Deep in North Tokyo
While still in Tokyo (Adachi City), their flagship shop is pretty far. It takes over an hour to get there from central Tokyo – this includes a long walk from Rokucho station.
If this sounds like too much, they do have a branch at shopping mall Diver City in Odaiba. Until recently, I hadn’t been to the flagship shops in ages. Not much has changed. If it ain’t broken, why fix it?
Diver City (Odaiba):