Updated: September 11, 2019
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What's Back Fat Tonkotsu Ramen? (Answer: Delicious!)


Have you heard of back fat ramen (背脂ラーメン)? It's a type of ramen that features a rich broth enhanced by pork fat (cut from the pig's back, hence the name back fat). 'Hopuken,' the shop that first created back fat ramen 60 years ago is still open, meaning you can go and try the original for yourself!

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Hopuken and Back Fat Ramen

'Hopuken' is one of Tokyo's most famous ramen shops, having a 60-year history.
Their ramen soup is just as rich as it looks, but is surprisingly easy to eat and isn't overly oily.

The shop's signature bowl is the 'Chashumen' (¥1,000) shown above. The bowl comes with three large, juicy, round pieces of pork chashu.
'Hopuken' opened as a food cart in 1960, and has been loved by customers from all walks of life for nearly 60 years since. The shop created the first 'Tokyo Back Fat Tonkotsu Ramen,' and is still one of the best places to eat the dish. Just like when it was a food cart, the first floor of the shop is still standing room only, giving the place a nostalgic feel.
The soup has a base of tonkotsu (pork bone) broth and soy sauce, with back fat added for richness. The flavor is unchanged since the time when Hopuken was a food cart. The amount of back fat can be increased or decreased based on a customer's preference.
The excellent noodles are hand made and have a strong body with a lovely amount of chewiness. The back fat tonkotsu soup coats the noodles beautifully, making them absolutely lovely to eat.
One of the special points at 'Hopuken' is the unlimited green onions. Add as much as you want to your ramen!
Jasmine tea is also available in a help-yourself system and is a great reset when your mouth gets a bit oily from the ramen.
If you feel like changing the flavor of the soup partway through, I recommend the minced garlic and 'ra-jang'(miso chili pepper paste) which give a pleasant spice and additional umami to the soup.


Hopuken is located in a yellow building with a large, red neon sign on the roof which is pretty easy to spot! It can be accessed about 5 minutes from JR Sendagaya Station, in Shibuya-ku. The shop is open 24/7. Check it out next time you're looking for an awesome and classic bowl of ramen!
I live in west Tokyo and spend most of my time thinking about food or going bouldering.

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