Kajiken (歌志軒) is a 40-something chain ramen shop originally from Nagoya, serving up the local style – Taiwanese mazesoba. It's a dry soupless style that's grown in popularity over the last decade and an offshoot of Nagoya's own Taiwan ramen specialty.
At Kajiken, the premise is rather different to fellow mazesoba shop, Hanabi. Here you order the base ramen type before then proceeding to order toppings individually – something I didn't realise right at the start, leading to multiple trips to the ticket machine. Toppings all arrive separately:
Once the noodles arrive themselves, you're encouraged to flavour with vinegar, before arranging the toppings as you see fit. This reminded me of Tokyo's Gyorai somewhat – where this deconstructed approach allows you some creativity in arranging the bowl and exact flavours you want and where, making for a unique bowl every time. Thenagain this is mazesoba – which means you typically start out mixing everything up anyway...
Kajiken recommends a specific approach to eating mazesoba. First, add some ra-yu chili oil and vinegar to the noodles in equal proportions. Then, mix the bowl until the oil and tare sauce have completely coated the noodles. Then it's time to try the maze-soba as is, while it's still piping hot. After that, they suggest customising to taste with any number of extras e.g. sesame, pepper, Cayenne, or garlic.
The Sakae branch is one of the more accessible branches of Kajiken, at just 7 minutes walk from the central Sakae station (Higashiyama, Meijo lines). Also at this particular branch, you'll also get to see how ridiculously narrow some buildings are in Japan...
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