Confession time: I ate meat.
For the first time in I-won't-admit-how-many-years-but-more-than-half-my-life, I ate pork. It wasn't bad! For years, I've spied ramen places here in Japan- they serve fresh noodles in a savory broth, nothing like the cups or packages that most Americans are familiar with. Everyone raves about how good the shops are. It's a cultural phenomenon with countless blogs dedicated to the subject. But, ramen shops are decidedly not vegetarian. I've been thinking hard about the reasons I don't eat meat (global warming, factory farming), contrasting this with my adventurous spirit and desire to immerse myself in my surroundings, and decided that trying something new on a rare occasion can fit into my ethical stance. This will likely be a once a year or less thing going forward, and will only be for special I-need-to-sample-this-cuisine-at-least-once-in-my-life reasons, but I'm feeling pretty good about my new flexibility.
So- the food. I went with a friend to Tsuta in Sugamo, which was voted Tokyo Ramen of the Year in 2012. If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it right. It was truly phenomenal broth, owing to the mixture of three artisan soy sauces, and the noodles were wonderfully fresh. I really enjoyed the hard boiled egg and the vegetables. The dark meat pork was good, flavorful, but not chewy. The fatty piece of meat was not for my taste, but this is likely personal preference as Mimi really liked that part. Beer was the perfect accompaniment. Like many restaurants in Japan, Tsuta was small, seating perhaps a dozen people at a counter behind which the three chefs did their work. The guys running the shop were young and hip, and the shop had a clean, bright vibe to it. Overall, it was a great experience, and something that I'm glad I tried.
Next on my food adventure list: finding veggie ramen so I can indulge in more noodles!