Well, it's another episode of the fantastically popular Gaijin Gourmet. The blog post written by me, Mike Rogers 'The gaijin cheapskate with the tastebuds, bud!', tells you where the best cheap places are to eat in Tokyo.
I once was told that, "If someone eats out for over 300 nights a year, they can be a newspaper or magazine restaurants critic." Well, for several years, I ate dinner outside 364 nights a year... Lunch everyday too!
But, I never became a critic (until now) because if I don't like a place, I don't go there twice. If the service is bad upon entering or seating, I will get up and walk out.
I don't have time to write about restaurants I don't like. I, actually, don't have the time to write about nice restaurants that I do like because if they are nice restaurants and I do like them, one of the good reasons I like them, is that they are undiscovered. I certainly wouldn't like to write about them now and ruin one of the few spots I enjoy and look forward to going to.
One more thing, expensive restaurants should be delicious. It's the cheap ones that are delicious that are the real treasures. So it's the cheap and delicious ones that I want to write about in Gaijin Gourmet!
*Oh, and many years ago, I wrote that Fuji Soba was good and now that's one reason it is so popular for foreigners... But! Fuji soba has really gone downhill. I cannot recommend it anymore. Today's restaurant blows Fuji Soba away!
Today, I want to tell you about Rakugama Seimenjyo. Rakugama Seimenjyo, in English means, "Easy Pot Noodle Place"
This place rocks. It a chain restaurant that serves Japanese noodles (Udon). This is a chain restaurant and the place is packed at lunch time during the week, so don't even try to go there at those times.
Get there at 11:30 or after 1:30 and you will be in for a real treat.
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW
The typical basic bowl of noodles is about ¥280 ~ ¥330 ($3.60 ~ $4.27 USD). See menu and HP here: http://www.sankofoods.com/shop/rakugama/index.html
Walk into the restaurant. Chose from the menu. I recommend the "Kama Age Udon" (kama a-gay uu-do-n) at ¥280 yen. Order from the nice lady. (Notice that you can see into the kitchen and it is spotless!)
Receive your basic tray of noodles. Then proceed to the toppings rack to the right. Choose the toppings of your choice. They have delicious fried chicken, fried veggies, fried squid, shrimp, pumpkin, and an assortment of rice balls... And! The prices are much cheaper than even a convenience store!
Choose any or all of the toppings you like. Super cheap too! You can easily fill your stomach up for $7.50 (USD)... No tipping too!
Hot udon with an egg and fried shrimp. Most restaurants about ¥800 ~ ¥1,000 yen. Here? ¥400 (about $5.18 USD!)
Large hot udon and fried squid ¥480 (about $6.12 USD)
My wife had the "tempura udon" at ¥400 (about $6.12 USD). This place is delicious and you just can't beat the prices!
The restaurant is called, Rakugama Seimenjyo in English means, "Easy Pot Noodle Place." They have 19 shops all over Tokyo. Here's a webpage that shows locations (sorry it's all in Japanese!): http://www.sankofoods.com/shop/rakugama/shop.html
My favorite one is just 1 minute walk from Sangenjyaya station!
I highly recommend this place for locals and for tourists. This gets the Gaijin Gourmet 5 stars award for cleanliness, delicious taste, and awesome price.