Let us ask you a question – how do you feel about ramen? As you might already know, there are many different types of ramen, depending on the main ingredient used when making the soup – the salt flavored, the miso flavored, the soy sauce flavored, the tonkotsu flavored (tonkotsu: broth made by boiling pork bones), and other ramens.
However, lately, a new type of ramen has appeared on the scene and has started to garner popularity among ramen-lovers – the so-called toripaitan, or the chicken white soup ramen. To put it simply, it is a chicken version of tonkotsu ramen. The soup is made by boiling chicken bones and meat, and since it is done so while maintaining the high-level temperature, the gelatin and the fat from the chicken turn the soup into a milky white, clouded, thick broth. In addition to that, due to the dissolving of the bones, the soup is extremely rich in collagen, so this dish is quite popular with the lady population.
Today, we have decided to take you to a well-known toripaitan ramen store in Ikebukuro – Tori no Ana. As this restaurant has been raising its reputation even among the foreign customers, they have decided to add explanations and terms in various languages to their menu (as of December 2015).
Only Five Minutes Away from Ikebukuro Station!
You can reach Tori no Ana after a five minute walk from the east exit of Ikebukuro Station, and you should be able to recognize it by its large window and stylish wooden exterior. Thanks to the store’s outline, everyone can take a sneak peek at the inside of the restaurant, and check whether there are still seats available before entering.
You’ll find the ticket vending machine right at the entrance. Although it is displayed in Japanese, there are pictures for each menu item that make it easy for customers who can’t read Japanese to order as well.
Upon entering the restaurant, you'll notice that there are 16 counter seats arranged in the shape of the letter “u”.
Loved by Everyone! The Restaurant’s Star Dish: Shirotori Ramen, 700 yen
This is the no. 1 dish on Tori no Ana’s menu, the shirotori ramen. For today’s topping, we chose the soft boiled egg marinated in soy sauce (ajitsuke tamago, 100 yen).
What sets Tori no Ana apart from other ramen restaurants is their rule to leave out pork and beef, and only use chicken as their meat ingredient. For that reason, the white, muddy soup is overflowing with chicken flavor, which makes it almost a delicacy to try. Also, you won’t taste any of the sometimes overpoweringly strong flavors that usually come from the soup made with other types of meat, as in case of tonkotsu ramen. And, as we’ve mentioned earlier, it is packed with precious collagen, as well.
Just before serving, the final touch – a paste made of potatoes and corn – will be added to the soup to make it thick and creamy, making the texture of the ramen seem almost like a potage.
The medium-thick noodles compliment the extraordinary soup with their chewy texture, and, since the soup is somewhat thicker than usual, you can enjoy the perfect combination of broth to noodle with each slurp. The wheat flavor combined with slightly chewy noodles makes this ramen special and satisfying in every aspect.
The chashu (roasted meat) used when making the dishes are made from chicken leg meat, which makes it healthier than its pork counterpart. The texture is tender and the spices bring forth the best of the chicken flavor. Also, you’ll get a generously thick slice of menma (bamboo shoots fermented using the lactic acid) in your ramen, but no need to worry about it being too hard to chew on – they’ve made it perfectly chewy to add to the overall taste and texture of the dish.
The spices used for the minced chicken meat you can see in the middle of the ramen vary depending on the dish. For our dish choice, the shirotori ramen, the spices used were black pepper and miso (fermented soybean paste), so we could feel the punch of hotness from the garlic alongside the aromatic miso flavor, which went hand in hand with the gentle flavor of the soup.
What stole our attention for a moment was a lovable logo of Tori no Ana store imprinted on our boiled egg. And not to mention the special offer – bring your own chopsticks to the shop and you'll
get a boiled egg topping free of charge! This extraordinary service could make a great (additional) reason for tourists to buy their own chopsticks.
When we split open our boiled egg, it was indeed soft boiled, timed so perfectly so that the soft yolk wouldn’t ooze out but have just the right amount of gooey-ness. The egg has a salty flavor to it because it was marinated in soy sauce, so it also makes a great combination with the mild soup.
The impeccable harmony of the rich and gentle soup with the toppings spiced accordingly to compliment it in the best possible way gave our dining experience a luxuriousness like that you may get when relishing four starred gourmet food. Tori no Ana truly brings forth all the delightfulness that can be found in a superbly cooked chicken dish.
Chicken Broth Ramen in Ikebukuro
Tori no Ana ramen restaurant is an excellent choice for those who prefer the taste of chicken to the one of pork, or for those who yearn to have a healthier dose of useful collagen in a natural form. Or just for anyone who appreciates a nice good bowl of delicious ramen. We have introduced one much popular dish from this store’s menu, but other than that, you’ll find a spicier akadori ramen (740 yen), or tsukemen (750 yen), where you get the soup and the noodles separately served.
How about you take your favorite chopsticks and treat yourself to a different style ramen delicacy?
*As of January 2016, an English menu has been added to the ticket vending machine.
Tori no Ana
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-39-20 Keita Building 1F
Hours: 11:00-22:00 (hours depend on how much soup stock is available that day; may run out sooner in colder weather)
Accepted Credit Cards: -
Menus/Pamphlets in Other Languages: Japanese, English
Nearest Station: Ikebukuro Station, JR, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi and Fukutoshin, Tobu Tojo, and Seibu Ikebukuro lines
Access: 5 minute walk from east exit of Ikebukuro Station
Price: up to 1000 yen
Phone Number: 03-3986-2811
Website: Tori no Ana (Japanese)