IO, Jakarta – According to historical records, Tokugawa Mitsukuni (the influential Japanese Daimyo in politics in the early Edo period), were often referred to as the first Japanese, who ate ramen. This Chinese-style noodle dish was first served for Tokugawa Mitsukuni. The creator was a Confucian scholar in exile from the Ming Dynasty who was invited to come to Mito Domain. At the time, Ramen was started to be enjoyed by many people, as it had also entered the menu at various restaurants in the Chinese settlements in Kobe and Yokohama. Today, Ramen is now well known by the international community, including Indonesian.
Echigoya, one of Jakarta’s famous Ramen restaurants is located in Little Tokyo (Melawai Street / Blok M), South Jakarta. Inside the Little Tokyo area, there are many Japanese restaurants and karaoke Bars with an atmosphere which are designed to be like Tokyo in Japan, plus, there are so many Japanese people who gather in that place. The restaurant opens at lunchtime and rests before it reopens for dinner at 6.00pm. We can also directly see Echigoya Ramen chefs make noodles, because they adopt open kitchen system. With Ramen menu list including Curry, Miso Cheese and Mapo Tofu, they prepare the required flavor composition so as to get perfect results. For certain Ramen, you can choose various soups, whether ‘miso’ (sweet and spicy), ‘shio’ soup (light and salty), and if you are looking for savory taste, you can try the ‘shoyu’ soup with lots of soy sauce on it.
The most recommended Ramen from Echigoya is Tonkotsu Ramen, which has a thick broth made of pork bones, fat, and collagen boiled in high-temperature fires for hours, wrapped in a broth with warm meat flavor and a mild mixture of milk, butter or liquid sauce (depending on the store). There is also a ‘halal’ Ramen, Toripaitan Ramen, a savory Ramen with chicken broth, accompanied by a variety of corn and lettuce vegetables, as well as chicken slices. If you’re vegetarians, you might try Tanmen, this ramen is made of ‘shio’ soup, that contains of cabbage, peanut sauce, black dried mushroom, and lots of corn. Echigoya also serves some side dish which we often heard of, such as Gyoza (Cooked Dumpling), Curry rice, Chahan (Japanese Fried Rice), and Edamame (boiled green beans).
Echigoya Ramen is an excellent place to satisfy your appetite. The Ramen portion is huge especially if you order Ramen, so you can share it with your friend. And the extra point is for noodles because it is homemade; moreover, you can see the machine and the process of making it, right on the right side after you enter the ramen shop.
I had time to wonder with other customers who were enjoying their food. As an example, I asked a guy named Fumi, one of the Japanese employees who had just taken a break from work, explaining why Echigoya is so good for its Ramen cooking. “I sometimes like to eat here with my office friends, and if you eat this ramen, I remember I was in my village some time ago. I am quite happy “he said before he returned to the office. I also asked Rodhi, an Indonesian who is given the responsibility as the captain who managed the kitchen in Echigoya restaurant. He explains a bit about the Echigoya itself. “Echigoya has been standing for 7 years, and it was made by our manager, Nakano-san. Before Echigoya stood in Jakarta, it settled in Tokyo, Japan “. According to Rodhi, making soup for ramen takes a long process to find the right flavor. “We make soup for hours before the restaurant opens. If for example the taste does not match with the expectation, we repeat the process from the beginning. Not only is the soup, but the noodles must also be adjusted. If the noodle is hard, it will taste bad.” he said. If you are in Jakarta and eager to eat original ramen from Japan, I recommend Echigoya. (Raihan Ismail)