Tonkotsu ramen lover, there’s a Japanese noodle shop in Tucson you need to know about.
Raijin Ramen is its name and tonkotsu ramen is its claim to fame, although you can eat other kinds of ramen there as well.
My first encounter with the restaurant, the first of what I predict will be many, came a few weeks ago when Hubby L. and I were headed home from Phoenix.
After flying down the I-10 East as fast as the law allows, we managed to get in the door just after 2 PM.
And although the room looked packed with diners, the greeter assured us that we were not only on time, there was a place for us.
As I followed him to our table for two, it was all I could do to keep from breaking out into a happy dance.
(You see, Raijin Ramen closes for lunch at 2:30 PM and I loves me some ramen made with chashu pork. So, if we hadn’t made it in time or seating wasn’t available, there would have great weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mine.)
Tonkotsu ramen on the way!
I found the atmosphere warm, our server welcoming, and the menu super-descriptive. Those three things together made ordering easy: I chose the “Black Roasted Garlic” tonkotsu ramen for me and the less spicy “White” tonkotsu ramen for him.
Talk about fast service! Less than two minutes later, two steaming bowls of some of the West’s best tonkotsu ramen arrived at the table.
We dug in.
Both bowls ~ mine is pictured up top ~ contained the same basic ingredients; slow-roasted pork with thin noodles in a creamy rich broth, menma (bamboo shoots), sesame seeds, seaweed, green onion, pickled ginger, and tamago (egg).
Now, I did pause long enough between slurps to see my husband focused like a surgeon, spooning broth and slurping away at his own bowl.
So I asked how he liked it and his response was priceless: he smiled at me and said, “I missed out.”
And I smiled back knowing my husband was referring to when we had traveled to Japan together. In Osaka, I had gone to a ramen shop and wanted him to dine with me. But he, suffering a severe case of culture shock on his first trip to Asia, refused.
He watched me slurp until I was through, then went to McDonald’s.
Now thanks to Raijin Ramen, BOTH of us are looking forward to a second trip together to Japan. Mostly to eat . . . but yes, okay, we’ll see some sights, too.
In the meantime, it’s good to know that mouthwatering ramen is available right here in the heart of the Southwest.