Every year, if you are stuck in Tokyo for the New Years, you’ll have the opportunity to check out Nagi’s annual ramen week of limited bowls. This almost always includes a return of Nishio-san’s incredible shoyu, as well as a few surprises.
One traditional surprise in Japan is the fukubukuro (福袋). Buy a mystery bag for a few thousand yen, and get prizes worth more than that. What’s in a ramen fukubukuro? These had a custom ramen bowl, a t-shirt, some noodles, and spices. Score!
Like I said, Nagi in Shinjuku (Nishishinjuku to be exact) does a few days of ramen to ring in the first few days of January. This first one was 鹿ラーメン, ramen made with deer. Fresh deer meat ramen?!?
Not exactly fresh. This dried deer tendon was perfect for imparting some meaty umami into the soup.
Another great part about these limited offerings, no one really seems to be so serious. The shutter was broken on the shop and remained half-open, the staff was all drinking tequila, and the customers were all regulars.
The next day’s ramen was made by Nishio-san himself and featured fried burdock root as a topping. Intense stuff.
To be honest, both bowls were a bit underwhelming, but the ritual of getting up early and walking over to this shop in Nishi-Shinjuku (it isn’t far from my house) is a great one. I’m fairly committed to having a stay-cation in Tokyo every year around this time, and ramen is part of the plan.
See you in 2020!