January 16, 2013
If I gave you several options for dinner and you knew nothing about the restaurants other than their names, and one was called “Junk Garage”, you’re eating there, right? I’m going with Junk Garage every single time.
I heard about this shop through the usual ramen fanatic-suspects and was fascinated by their namesake ‘junk’ ramen, or mazesoba… a “mixed” ramen sans soup. By all accounts it’s an insane conglomeration of savory goodness.
The original shop is kind of out in the boonies but there is a new one located in the Ramen Alley in Tokyo Station — pretty much the heart of Tokyo. Yet again I decided to trek to a shop without detailed directions, so you can guess how that turned out.
I was utterly lost for a good 30 minutes. Tokyo Station is HUGE. I had been there before but never set foot inside the massive underground mall. I ended up outside for a while and had to ask for directions like five times before I found Junk Garage, beaming like a golden chalice of gluttony.
Where to start? Look at this thing!
This is the mazemen, a crazy soupless concoction that Nate of Ramenate dubbed “Japanese nachos”. I couldn’t have said it any better. It’s a conglomerate of coronary combustion, an amalgamation of umami. It is the personification of the fat kid inside every single one of us.
It is awesome.
We’re talking huge, mega chewy noodles, dried garlic flakes, a grip of crispy snack noodles, a couple slices of cheese, mayonnaise, a raw egg, a soft boiled egg, giant, thick slabs of chashu, and even pure fat. Yes, pure fat. I think there were a couple other ingredients but honestly, do you blame me for forgetting?
It was magnificent, and probably the worst thing I’ve ever eaten from a caloric standpoint. I also felt a twinge of fear about halfway through the bowl since I had eaten at Fuunji earlier that day and was not really all that hungry. But I dug deep and found my spirit animal. Eating ramen in Japan will do that to you — after all, I’m trying to build a legacy here.
I ate at Junk Garage on my second to last day in Japan. That night some friends and I went out for my going-away party, where… well let’s just say I drank an incredible amount of alcohol in a tiny Shibuya bar, so my massive meal was the perfect foundation. But I probably should have grabbed a second bowl on my way home at 7 AM cause the next day was pretty rough!
1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda
T: +81 3-3286-0167
*Will dreams of Tokyo but currently downs his ramen in Los Angeles. When he’s not hunched over a bowl of tonkotsu or tending his garden you can find him playing shows around town with his band. This post was originally published in The Ramen Shaman.