Restaurant Review: RAMEN SHITENNOU
For a hardy (and curiously draining) take on the traditional ramen dish in the midst of Osaka's geek haven, look no further.
By S. Jimmy (Staff Writer)
Your faithful Roving Restaurant Reporter on the Osaka beat is back in action, and as ever, I am here with the latest in gastronomic gossip from the streets of Japan’s Eat-Till-You-Drop capital. Today’s subject: Ramen Shitennou (4-10-19 Nipponbashi, Naniwa-ku, open daily 11 AM – 11 PM).
I came upon the place almost by accident: while roving the area of the Kuromon markets looking for new culinary hotspots, I strayed south into Nerd Territory: the famed Nipponbashi Den-Den Town, otherwise known as the “Akihabara of West Japan”. Ignoring the many and varied sellers of pornography both drawn and otherwise, I made my way along Sakaisuji, until I spotted a curious building, which I was absolutely sure had not been there the last time I had walked along this very street. Now that’s Japanese efficiency in construction at work.
The temptation of any place that sells fresh ramen notwithstanding, the name piqued my curiosity, so I thought I’d do some research before stepping beyond the threshold. Through a quick check of the Internet from my cell phone, they seem to be part of a chain
, but a cursory browsing of their restaurant list
indicates no location in that spot. Curious. Be that as it may, I was hungry, and the menu had pictures. Mmm, visualicious.
I made my way inside. The staff welcomed me in with a smile and hearty “Irasshaimase!” and quickly showed me to a stool along the main counter. Employees were friendly and service was prompt, though when ordering I was immediately directed to their single most popular offering, the “Shitennou Ramen”. And that was fine by me, since even though Ginga gives me special dispensations as a reviewer, they still have their limits. Stupid corporate policy of reviewing “real” restaurants and not ramen shops... *ahem*
Anyhow, the ramen was brought to me without delay. A quick visual inspection revealed a tonkotsu broth with splashes of what appeared to be soy sauce. The customary char siu slices were accompanied by bean sprouts and green onion. In spite of its humdrum exterior, I was immediately drawn to it as if by some occult force, and quickly downed the whole thing. As I burned my tongue from ingesting too rapidly, I cannot give a full account of the flavor, but one part of me felt that it was pretty average, while the other insisted that it was Heavenly, and wanted more. MORE. MORE. As though the assumed soy sauce dollops were in fact a perfect combination of both Ambrosia and Blood of the Innocent, I immediately fell into a state of contented, yet still incredibly hungry, lethargy. My lack of cash thus led me to seek other food elsewhere; luckily, I found this awesome Turkish restaurant nearby, Karakus, which sells authentic döner kebab for ¥500 a pop. But that, I am afraid, is a story for another review.
LOCATION / ACCESS:
The Den-Den Town branch(?) of Ramen Shitennou can be found on Sakaisuji Avenue (known locally as Nipponbashisuji), less than a block south of Joshin's “Osaka Gundam’s” mecha merchandise megastore. It can be accessed most easily from the Osaka Subway Sakaisuji Line (Ebisu-cho station / Nippombashi station), or from Nankai Railway (Namba station).