There are few institutions you will remember long after your first experience. Mutekiya and its delicious selection of ramen is one of them. I visited in 2017 and knew after that first bowl of delicious, impeccable bowl of perfection that when I returned to Tokyo in 2019 I would visit again.
I still remember the mindbogglingly delicious ramen to this day. The ramen is unmatched by any other joint I have visited anywhere. The noodles, the broth and the condiments are all impeccable. Both times I have visited, the lines outside this tiny establishment in Ikebukuro, Tokyo were long and consisted mostly of locals. By the way, long lines and seeing lots of locals in the queue are good signs if you are looking to eat at a good restaurant.
During the wait in the queue, I was handed a menu. There were plenty of options to choose, from ramen, donburi and tsukemen, dipping noodles. It didn’t take before my eyes focused on the Chashu-men (pretty much lots of chashu meat stacked on top of a ramen), while my wife, who was wanting a less strong pork flavor ramen, went for the Kanimiso-men (crab and miso ramen). Here is a photo of the menu.
It is a simple two page menu. They have several different language menus. They will ask you what language you want before they hand it over.
Essentially, they will take your order before you go into the restaurant. The restaurant is a very cramped place, suitable for no more than 16 people, and you are only expected to be in there for about 10 mins – not that I have seen it enforced. I think it is a great idea that they are taking orders outside while you wait. This meant that when I sat down in the restaurant, I was served almost immediately my order of ramen.
Below is the Kanimiso-men which has the crab, miso and pork flavor broth. I just remember how delicious the broth’s flavor was, it was a good mixture of seafood and pork bone flavors. No crab meat, but the condiments of bamboo, spinach, seaweed and chashu were fantastic. Yum!
I highly recommend adding the extra chashu, because their chashu is extra thick with a nice peppery taste and crispy skin. Here is my Chashu-men ramen bowl.
The crispy skin on the chashu and its delicious peppery flavor were divine. Needless to say, I ate everything in this photo. I could eat this almost everyday if I could.
To go with the experience, there are plenty of excellent condiments and sauces, like chili oil, extra tare, ramen oil, and garlic cloves, plus the option to serve yourself water or tea (both can be served either hot or cold).
Mutekiya is a great value ramen joint in the heart of Tokyo, within walking distance from Ikebukero Station, and an unforgettable experience. I’ll be making sure to pay this place another visit if it is still around post-pandemic.