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Osaka: Sutoraikuken (ストライク軒)

We were starving and it was about 8.30pm when our Shinkansen pulled into Shin-Osaka. It was a mad scramble to find a hearty ramen joint to fill our rumbly tummies and a quick search on Instagram (yes, instagram!) unearthed this gem.

It has a non-descript, unassuming front which we passed by before doubling back. Pushing aside the plastic blinds, we were greeted with…a vending machine which we had to make our orders, completely in Japanese. Without the help of a fellow customer I think we would have spent about another 15 minutes deciphering the Japanese.

There are only two choices; shoyu or shio (salt). Both KYW and I have never been fans of either, but there were two of us and two types to try, so a bowl each we ordered. We got the ‘mini’ size, with an add on egg each.

It’s difficult to describe the taste of the shoyu – how something so simple can have a lot of depth is beyond me. It was comforting and exactly what I needed after a long day of traveling. I loved the bamboo accompaniment!

On the other hand, the shio came with slices of tender poached chicken and some clams. It was a lovely mix of seafood and chicken shio broth, and was reminiscent of a tonkotsu broth in that it was creamy, but the difference being that this was much lighter, and a lot more unique – both of us had never had anything like that! I think it was lighter on the palete than the shoyu and if I really had to pick one, I’d go with this shio though I’d recommend going with a friend to try both.

On the way out we spotted a sign on the wall where Sutoraikuken was awarded 373th out of 38,000 in Tabelog’s list of best ramen-ya. Didn’t even realise they were in the top 1% but they truly deserve this award. I’m definitely coming back the next time I’m in Osaka.

Address: 5-8-8 Tenjinbashi Kita-ku, Osaka

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Shinkansen Eats

On the Shinkansen right now and this is the spread KYW and I got to share. While most people would get an ekiben, we decided that more is more, and bought a bit of everything to try.

Let me first start with the juices: fresh peach, fresh tomato and fig. I’ve never had fresh tomato juice and I have terribly limited vocab when it comes to describing juice but it literally felt like eating the respective fruit / vegetables but in liquid form. The taste of the fig was not distinctive BUT the tomato juice had a really nice sweet end to it, probably due to the fig. Super refreshing in this heat! The peach juice wasn’t too sweet as well.

Pardon my stubby fingers!! Having heard so much about Maisen (aka the best tonkatsu in Tokyo) we both decided we had to have these sandwiches. LOOK AT THAT MEAT. This box of 3 mini sandwiches is a perfect snack size. The ratio of bread to meat to sauce is also perfect. Not too greasy despite being made hours ahead, this is one helluva sandwich that makes all the previous tonkatsu sandwiches I’ve had a waste of calories.

I wish I had a better pictures of the croquettes but KYW and I got through them too quickly. It is difficult to say which is better because they are both satisfying: the crab croquette manages to satisfy a seafood craving without being overly fishy; the beef is just hearty and packs lots of flavour. Japanese croquettes are always good because they are never over fried or too oily.

Chirashi was a bit of a letdown because the rice was clumpy. Other than that, no complaints because the fish was fresh!! Food comaing right now so the reviews of the marron sandwiches will come later and I’m falling asleep..

All food was purchased at Shinagawa station.