by Ashley Heil.
This is a little bit of a delayed post, but one I didn't want to forget about!
While flying home to the USA, we had a long layover, from 9:55AM until 4:40pm in Tokyo in order to switch between Tokyo Haneda and Tokyo Narita layover. Being over 6 hours, I definitely wanted to use this opportunity to see a little more of Tokyo and eat some great food. At first we considered going more into Tokyo proper to eat at our previous favorite ramen restaurant in Tokyo, Ichiran ramen, but after considering it our time in Tokyo seemed to short to manage this. I found out about this little town called Narita, just 2 train stops away from Narita airport. This seemed like the perfect place to come. I did some research on the trains and some directions, and we were set.
So, on the day of our layover, we quickly got off our plane and got our bags, and asked the nice helpful airport customer service workers for directions to Keisei Narita station. We got our train tickets, and we were on our way. I believe it took about an hour and 45 minutes to get to Keisei Narita station from Haneda. You can also choose to go to JR Narita station, they're both in Narita town. I think for the money and time the Keisei line was the best bet.
At Narita station, we were able to stow our bags in some lockers there. If there aren't any lockers available at the Keisei Narita station, you can always use the JR's lockers as well.
After walking a little bit on Omotesando road, we found Ramen Bayashi. Inside, there are decorations of planes and souvenirs from different airlines around the world. You see, this ramen resturant and town is famous for having pilots and flight attendants come here on their long layovers. While waiting for our food and eating we even overheard two pilots next to us talking about flying different models of planes. It was quite fascinating. Although this restaurant is famous with foreigners and people on layovers, there was plenty of Japanese people there as well, so it was still quite authentic. We both ordered the spicy pork ramen, and one order of the Goyaza. The broth was spicy, but not overly spicy. It was superb. I normally order tonkotsu ramen at ramen restaurants, so this was a great change. The pork and noodles were delicious as well. The bowl was plenty big, with the addition of the gyoza we were very full after the meal. The goyaza was excellent as well.
After enjoying the ramen we walked around the cute traditional town and went to visit Naritasan temple. Behind the temple there was a beautiful Japanese garden. Just walking around there, we couldn't believe we were enjoying all of that just on a layover. We even got a little carried away with the time because it was just so beautiful and we didn't want to leave. Really it was seeing this temple and the beautiful garden that made the trip to this town on our layover worth it.
So, if you're on a long transfer layover from Haneda to Narita (any less than 6 or so and it might be cutting it too close) and vice versa, or just a long layover at Narita, I recommend you go to Narita town and visit this ramen restaurant. And yes there are plenty of other amazing ramen restaurants closer to Tokyo proper, so I wouldn't come here just for that, but if you're going to the airport anyway I recommend it just for seeing this cute town and temple.
Ramen: around 850 yen . Goyaza: 400 yen
Directions: Ramen Bayashi is located at the beginning of the old Narita town, on Omotesando road. If you're on a layover at Narita airport, store your luggage in lockers at Narita airport's arrival floor, or at the train station's locker rental. Take the local Keisei train about 10 minutes to the Narita city stop (1 or 2 train stops away from Narita airport depending what terminal you are at). The train costs 250 yen per person each way. If you'd like, there are tourist centers in Narita city and at the nearby JR Narita train stop, stop by one of these tourist centers and the workers will happily give you directions to the sites in Narita and provide you with a map for free. From Keisei station, turn right outside the station. On the next street, there is a bridge heading towards the old Narita town. Go over the bridge, and before you dead end into Omotesando you'll see Ramen Bayashi on your left.
Here is a link to a website with more information: http://www.nrtk.jp/ndb/site/detail/219/?lang=en
and a facebook page (though it looks like their unofficial page), where you can read some more reviews https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ramen-Bayashi/183302421688202
by Michael Jones
Over the weekend we went to Pajeon alley with a group of friends and we were completely blown away by the Jeon (전). It was definitely the best Jeon we’ve ever eaten. For those of you who might be new to Korean food, Jeon is essentially a Korean pancake that can be made with many different types of meat and vegetables then mixed in flour/egg batter and fried in oil. Pajeon alley is a small street located near Hoegi Station on line 1 that is famous for making the best Pajeon in Seoul. Pajeon is a seafood variety of Jeon and it’s savory, packed with flavor, and extremely filling. I’ve been there a few times with a good friend who lives next to the station, and although I enjoyed the other places, they never impressed me as much as I was expecting them to. That changed this time. The place our friend took us to on Saturday is called Nakseo Pajeon (낙서파전) and like many incredible restaurants, a shoddy looking exterior belies the incredible food inside. The interior is intimate and filled with wooden tables and the roof is small in places, so watch your head. It feels very comfortable though and very authentic. The place was busy the entire time and the reason was the otherworldly food and the cheap prices. For 5 people we ordered two different types of Jeon: kimchijeon (8,000) and modeumjeon (9,000), one order of Jeyuk-Bokkeum (spicy pork) for 8,000, and three bottles of Makgeolli for just over 38,000 won. It was a very cheap meal split between 5 people and the serving sizes were huge. The Jeon was served on a wooden tray and was the size of a pizza, and I’m talking about a large pizza. My girlfriend and I are huge eaters and it is hard for us to get full, but this place pushed us over the edge. The Jeon was crispy and just greasy enough to be delicious, but not enough to make you feel like a horrible person. The Jeon was packed with seafood (octopus) and vegetables and was very rich. It’s the perfect food to eat with Magkeolli and share with friends. The kimchijeon still had a little octopus in it, but not as much as the modeumjeon so its a better choice if you're not a fan of seafood. The pork bokkeum was average, but that might just be because after eating the Jeon anything we ate would’ve tasted bland in comparison. This place is truly a special restaurant and deserves a visit.
Directions: Go to Hoegi station (회기역) exit 1.
Turn left on 회기로28길 (the second big street on your left after exit 1).
Nakseo Pajeon will be on your left.
Address: 서울 동대문구 회기로28길 11
by Michael Jones.
Gamjatang (감자탕) is a delicious soup made with tender chunks of pork, pork spine to be specific, potatos, sprouts, rice cake, onions, and other vegetables. The broth is a rich dark red color from the boiled peppers and is extremely flavorful. The flavor from the spices mixing with the fat from the pork is otherworldly. The bean paste, chili powder, and garlic accentuate the rich flavors of the pork perfectly. This is hands down one of our favorite dishes and we are always on the lookout for new Gamjatang restaurants. This week we found a new place that serves some great Gamjatang near Sangsu station. This place is one of our favorites. The place has been open since the 1980s, longevity is always a good sign in a highly competitive market like Seoul, and that's because they serve some mouth watering soup. Another bonus is that Su Bong Gamjatang (수봉 감자탕) does not abuse the salt. Some places use far too much and the salt dominates the other ingredients. For the money (33,000 won), split between 3 people, I've never seen more chunks of pork. There was at least 7 or 8 huge pieces and the meat was perfectly cooked. The tender strips came right off the bone. It was a large serving and the perfect amount to share with friends. Next time you visit the Sangsu area you should give Su Bong Gamjatang (수봉 감자탕) a try.
Directions/Address: 서울 마포구 어울마당로 56
Here is the easiest way to get here: Come out of Sangsu station exit 1
Walk down the road a little ways and turn right on 어울마당로.
Walk down this road about 300 meters and Subong Gamjatang will be on your right.
We're just a couple addicted to great food. We love Anthony Bourdain!