June 13, 2017
If a decade ago someone asked me which part of Tokyo I would never visit, I would probably say Ginza. Those days my stomping grounds were Shibuya and Shimokitazawa, and the idea of spending any time in “old geezer’s land” Ginza was unfathomable. Well, life comes at you fast and I stayed in Ginza for this time around, if for no other reason than its convenient location.
I didn’t purposely seek out the newer offshoot of Ginza Kagari, the famous chicken broth ramen soup. I just happened to see its name on the directory of the subway shopping arcade Echika Fit on my way out of Ginza, and we tagged along for a quick meal after seeing there were only three people lining up at 15:30. Opened in 2015 and to the great delight of its fans, the eight-seat shop consistently sees much shorter queue compares to the main branch. Our wait still lasted more than 20 minutes — I can’t imagine how long it will take to get a seat at the original during lunch hours.
The menu is less extensive here, but to us first-timers it didn’t matter as we both went with the classic ramen in chicken broth (¥950), or what Kagari calls tori-paitan soba. The chicken broth I had in the past were all clear and light; here it was thick, rich and creamy. On first sip I was a little uncertain about the butter-like broth, but gradually its soothingness grew on me. The noodle was thin like those found in tonkotsu broth. Toppings included seasonal vegetables such as baby corn, cucumber and white asparagus and two slices of perfectly cooked chicken breast. Before long I finished the whole bowl including the broth, something I rarely do.
By no means am I a ramen fanatic — the only famous ramen place in Tokyo I went out of my way to try was Mutekiya in Ikebukuro. Nonetheless I have eaten countless ramen in Vancouver, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Fukuoka, and Ginza Kagari is the best I have had yet.
Address: Tokyo Metro Ginza Station, 4-1-2 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:30