Did you know that there is a “Michelin Guide Nara”? I am personally surprised that Michelin would publish a guidebook that focuses on one region, Nara Prefecture, and not on the whole country of Japan. That must mean that the level of restaurants and eateries in Nara Prefecture is extremely high.
The ramen restaurant introduced here, “Torikaji Ippai,” was featured in the special 2017 edition of Nara Prefecture’s Michelin Guide. Despite its inconvenient location a bit far from Kintetsu Ikoma Station, the restaurant was crowded with many customers at lunch time…
Torikaji Ippai｜Michelin-certified signature dish, soy sauce ramen, evolves to another dimension with customer feedback.
It seems that many restaurants in Nara Prefecture are very particular about the ingredients they use. Such is the case with Nyahbinghi, which I introduced the other day, which focuses on vegetables grown in Ikoma. Torikaji Ippai is no exception…
- Homemade noodles made from 100% “Yumechikara” extra-strength flour from Hokkaido
- Clear chicken soup made from Oyamaru Chicken and gara (Kyoto red chicken)
- Sauce made from Shimane Prefecture raw soy sauce with a unique heat treatment and blended with fish sauce
- Chicken meat from Japan, cooked slowly over a long period of time
- Water thoroughly purified by a reverse osmosis membrane water purifier
The owner of Ramen Mitsuba, a popular ramen restaurant in Tomio, says that he has “carved a history in Nara’s light ramen” as a result of his efforts.
Here is the Ramen Mitsuba owner’s recommendation, Shoyu Ramen (soy sauce ramen), 750 yen….
When this ramen was first opened, it was too light in flavor and failed to make an impact on customers. However, it did not stop there. After listening to customers’ opinions and conducting research, it evolved to a level unmatched up to that time. The result was a Michelin special edition of the restaurant, and now, despite its inconvenient location, it has joined the ranks of restaurants with a long line of customers.
When you actually try it…contrary to its appearance, the flavor is quite strong and impactful. When you take a sip of the soup, the chicken broth hits you hard in the mouth. I have never had a chicken-based ramen with such a strong broth. However, it is not at all cloying, and the flavor quickly recedes without leaving an aftertaste.
On the other hand, the noodles are also much firmer than they appear and do not lose out at all to the strong-flavored soup. And strangely enough, while both are assertive, they do not interfere with each other. It is not that they are compatible with each other, but rather that they are compatible with each other while strongly appealing to each other’s presence.
Finally, there are three pieces of chicken chashu pork in a bowl. The chicken breast meat is moist without being dry, and it is a nice break from the strong broth and noodles. Although the ramen is very rich, the chicken pork will lead you to finish it in one go without feeling tired.
If you haven’t had this soy sauce ramen since the early days of the restaurant, please make time to try it again. I am sure you will be surprised at how different it is from the ramen you had before.
Michelin-certified Ramen Mitsuba owner’s highly recommended soy sauce ramen: To get to Torikaji Ippai, get off at the Tawarakuchi bus stop on the Nara Kotsu Line from Kintetsu Ikoma Station.
Now, here are the details of the restaurant.
The store can be reached on foot from Kintetsu Ikoma Station, but it is a bit far, so for those who are not familiar with the area, we recommend using the bus from the station. The store is located near the Ikoma Interchange on the Hanna Road.
Note: There are some changes to the menu at Torikaji Ippai! Eat Special Ae-soba (Dressed soba noodles) and KIMAGURE Donburi (described in June 2020)
While I had some business in Ikoma, I revisited Trikaji Ippai for the first time in more than a year! I felt that the number of customers was a little slower than before due to the new Corona…but still, it is as expected that customers come to the store one after another after the opening in the evening.
During the past year or so, in addition to the new Corona, there has also been a consumption tax increase. Due to this, Trikaji Ippai also seemed to have changed its menu and raised its prices. Compared to the previous article, the nightly Celica and monthly limited menu items are gone. An example of the new menu is shown below, so please refer to this menu when you visit Trikaji Ippai in the future.
Examples of new menu items for Trikaji Ippai (as of June 2020)
- Shoyu ramen: Normal 800 yen, special 1,050 yen
- Shio Ramen 800 yen, special 1,050 yen
- Miso ramen 900 yen, special 1,150 yen
- Soba with dressing: 800 yen, special: 1,050 yen
- Today’s limited edition: 900 yen
- All on top (Ajitama + Chicken Char-siu pork) 250 yen
- KIMAGURE donburi 400 yen
This time, I ordered the special “Ae-soba” with all the toppings and a side dish of KIMAGURE-don (bowl of rice topped with a bowl of kimagure). Let’s start with the special Ae-soba noodle…
Onsen egg and minced chicken in the center, ingredients clockwise: green onion, chicken chashu, boiled egg, green onion, garlic (you can choose between garlic or sansho), and chopped nori. When I saw this, I thought, “Oh shit!” that the eggs were covered. but that’s behind me now…
Mix the entire bowl until evenly coated and eat… The thin but firm straight noodles are as delicious as ever. The sauce of soy sauce and Japanese soup stock coats the noodles and makes an extraordinary presence in the mouth. The noodles weigh 210 grams, which should be enough to satisfy your hunger.
In addition to the sweetly seasoned minced chicken, three pieces of moist chicken chashu pork will satisfy meat lovers. On the other hand, the garlic is not so strong, so you don’t have to worry about it on the train on the way home. It’s a good thing.
And now, another KIMAGURE Donburi dish…
When I saw the hot spring egg sitting at the top, once again I thought, “Shit!” I thought. But that’s behind me now. Three eggs for dinner alone…well, it’s normal to order two or three eggs at an izakaya, so I guess it’s okay!
The rare chashu pork topping on this KIMAGURE-don is just amazing! It seems to be made from Italian pork called “Dolce Porco,” and the flavor of the fat is slowly oozing out from the thickly sliced meat. The meat, which was seared with a burner just before it arrived on the table, was fragrant, and the fat must have been melted by the heat. I can feel a tremendous flavor.
Moreover, there are four pieces of this rare pork! Despite its appearance, it is quite hearty, and at only 400 yen…in my mind, this KIMAGURE-don has become a must-try menu item at Tricadigui.
P.S. If you are looking for delicious ramen in Nara Prefecture, please stop by this article…