Yuzu Shio Ramen – is this the finest version in Japan? Let’s just say that Tokyo ramen shop IRUCA has blown me away. Their ramen is a stunning, modern work of art.
Yuzu Shio Ramen
First of all, what exactly is Yuzu Shio Ramen? Yuzu is a yellow citrus fruit. Flavor-wise, it’s like a lemon and grapefruit hybrid. Shio is salt. We’re therefore talking about salt-seasoned, citrus ramen.
Just so you know, there aren’t too many shops that serve this ramen style. Afuri is most famous. They’re credited with popularizing it. Hyottoko is lesser known – but they too do a fantastic bowl.
What about Ramen Shop IRUCA?
Even in this less crowded ramen space, IRUCA radiantly stands out. I LOVE their take on this style. The elegant yet powerful seasoning is 10 different types of salt, flying fish, and other dried fish (niboshi).
The soup is just as complex. High-grade Nagoya Cochin and Daisen chicken meet pork, mussels, and Japanese spiny lobster. The seasoning and soup do make for a long list of ingredients. But nothing feels out of place. Nor does the whole shio symphony feel over-elaborate.
The yuzu is so well incorporated, intermingling harmoniously with everything, including the rich chicken oil on top. For this aroma (chicken) oil, they add two more chicken breeds to the mix (from Chiba and Tottori).
The bright yellow yuzu and pear purée is a triumph as well, playfully changing the flavor of the soup. Lastly, the toppings are all superb. They present them marvelously alongside the thin, 100% Japanese wheat flour noodles (made by Mikawaya Seimen).
Porcini Shoyu Ramen
Their second ramen features a tangy soy sauce (shoyu) seasoning instead of a bright salt (shio) one. The complex soup remains the same. But the yuzu is replaced with porcini mushroom.
Instead of the pear purée, there’s a paste made from truffles and multiple types of mushrooms. The yuzu shio ramen is still number one for me. But this bowl is a worthy ramen sidekick.
IRUCA’s Two Locations
IRUCA (Full Name: 入鹿 ICRUCA Tokyo) has two ramen shops. Their main shop is in Higashi-Kurume City, Northwest Tokyo. Their other shop is in Roppongi, Tokyo.
As of January 2022, it seems there’s a plan to permanently move to Roppongi. The Higashi-Kurume shop is only offering takeout ramen right now. Given that Roppongi is centrally located in Tokyo, this is a good thing.
Regardless of the one you visit after reading this, you won’t be disappointed.