Ikebukuro, known for its ramen wars, still battles on for the best of the best. Walking down the crowded streets you’ll hear cries in the distance to come try a shop’s ramen. But which one is best? Your stomach is growling to pick something already, but your taste buds are talking the options over with your mind, all while precious time ticks away. So let’s make the choice simple:
King Kong specializes in a type of ramen that I have come to love, tsukemen. Instead of everything coming in a hot soup, the hot soup is separated into another bowl from the rest of the ingredients. This is awesome considering the noodles are cooled down, which allows you to enjoy ramen even in the summer. And for my friends who eats there too, they can dig in as soon as they want without worrying about burning their mouths. Tsukemen in general is just a win-win situation.
So wouldn’t just any tsukemen be good enough to try? That depends on the soup and what else comes with it. King Kong definitely hits the mark here and is the reason I keep finding myself going back time and time again. The soup is a bit on the sweet side, believe it or not, probably thanks to the additional hints of fruits and berries. It’s a subtle hint that compliments the pork blend as I’ve never experienced before. And as for the meat, to me this is the best part of the meal. Succulent slices of herb grilled pork are grilled in the kitchen before you, and the taste knocks all other meats out of the water that are cooked in soup.
My favorite dish to get there is their Torofuru Tsukemen, which comes with a bowl of their soup and a bowl of noodles, two grilled pork slices, and a lemon wedge. My friend’s favorite dish is the King Torofuru Tsukemen, which is almost identical to mine but with an additional plate containing two more grilled pork slices, a sliced soft boiled egg, nori (dried seaweed), and menma (pickled bamboo shoots). There are more options and you will see what those are when you enter the store. A picture menu can easily be seen near the front door on the vending machine where you can purchase your ticket for the meal.
One word of advice is to try to go before or after a lunch or dinner rush. The tsukemen here is so popular that at busy times there may be a line to get in. There are only 13 seats at the counter but everyone tends to filter in and out enough to keep the line moving along. I personally have never had to wait more than 10 minutes if I even waited at all. But if you do end up waiting, it’s worth it.