Apparently there are 34,488 ramen shops in Japan and judging by recent openings, London appears to be trying to compete.
A walk around Soho will throw up dozens of new options for some slurpy noodles.
We chose a boiling hot Wednesday to go and sample this speciality at Tonkotsu in Dean Street.
This is a no frills restaurant with the typical no-booking policy and long wooden tables.
The menu is quite small and has some other typical Japanese fare including edamame, crispy squid and gyoza, all of which we sampled, along with the chicken karaage which arrived as a little bonus due to a kitchen mix-up.
The chicken was actually the nicest of all of them – it was really juicy and full of soy and garlic flavour.
After minutes of indecision the three of us ordered three different types of ramen. There were only four on the menu…
The differences to consider were whether we preferred a soy or sea salt base, thin or medium noodles and then meat or fish.
I went for the Tokyo ramen which came with two huge bits of pork belly floating on the top of bouncy noodles in a tasty broth.
There is always a bit of a health risk when attempting to eat slippery noodles in a bowl of liquid with just chopsticks.
Every time I tried to nibble bits off the pork belly I dropped it back into the bowl, splashing my face and clean white top with juice. Add this mess to the 28C heat in the room and it wasn’t the most attractive of meals.
I think the ramen could do with a few more ingredients in it, apart from the pork belly and noodles it felt a bit empty. We ordered some pak choi to brighten things up but I’d recommend some other vegetables too.
But for fast, tasty food I’d really recommend Tonkotsu. It’s reasonably priced and in a great location in Soho.
They also had a nice wine list with my current favourite white wine, Picpoul de Pinet, which is beautifully refreshing on a hot day.
If London is going to catch up with Japan’s ramen restaurant numbers then it looks like I’ve got lot more slurpy noodles ahead of me.
:: There is another Tonkotsu in east London, near Haggerston.