Unique Japanese style of Tokyo Belly

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The wooden wall at Tokyo Belly is decorated with Japanese-style graffiti and ninja drawings. (photo: IO/Aldo)

IO, Jakarta – Apart from its popularity among many dishes in Jakarta that have a sharp and salty taste, ramen is developed from ordinary traditional dishes into various types that we can now enjoy, even though they are not in their home country, Japan. Taken from China, ramen experienced various cultural acculturations and adjustments in Japan and throughout the world which has made it one of the dishes that is quite familiar to the public. To enjoy one bowl of ramen, I visited Tokyo Belly, intentionally tasting the ramen they had. As a fan of heavy ramen, I don’t think there has been any ramen from a famous food retailer, for in Jakarta itself, Tokyo Belly has two outlets that can be visited, namely at Mall Grand Indonesia and Setiabudi One. I chose to visit Tokyo Belly, which is in the Grand Indonesia Mall, a strategic location.

Tokyo Belly is one of the restaurants opened by Ismaya Group which takes Sakura’s specialty dishes as its specialty. Unlike most Japanese restaurants that take one of the menus’ as a mainstay, Tokyo Belly provides various types of Japanese dishes such as sushi, ramen, J-dog, or omurice to be enjoyed with a comfortable casual dining concept. There are many types of ramen, and the most basic and most common difference is the type of broth or sauce used. Gravy will determine the delicacy of ramen and the different types of gravy, of course, will also change the taste of the ramen itself.

Some ramen must have a strong flavor of meat broth (usually chicken and pork), with a consistency of a not too thick sauce but enough to cover the ramen. And some ramen has a lighter flavor and has a consistency that is quite transparent, like shoyu sauce. Ramen broth is often cooked for hours and repeatedly to sharpen the flavor. When visiting Tokyo Belly, I ordered the Tokyo Belly Classic Ramen (because what usually determines the overall taste of ramen somewhere is the menu with the most classic taste) available in 3 sizes, small, regular, monsters. As I really didn’t want to fill my stomach so, I ordered a regular size.

This ramen has Tonkotsu Chicken Broth sauce, meaning it is made from chicken and halal broth for Muslim consumption. Like meat broth in general, the consistency is not too light and slightly concentrated. But that’s what makes this ramen more unique than others. Each bowl of ramen is served with a ratio of the same amount between noodles and the mixture. Glance at the fast-eating Japanese tradition and ramen which can easily become soft and not chewy when the sauce has cooled, the broth and noodles must be eaten together. Not only ramen with broth, I tasted dry ramen which is a ramen dish without gravy. For the dry ramen menu, I chose, smoked chicken ramen served with topping smoked chicken, omega-3 egg, fish flakes, and nori.

Just like broth, there are many types of ramen noodles, including curly and straight type noodles that are handmade and vary in thickness. Ramen noodles are usually made traditionally only with flour, salt, water, and alkaline water (kansui). Ramen itself must be fresh, not frozen, and not dried. The Ramen at Tokyo Belly that I feel is cooked with the right maturity. Not too chewy but also not too overcooked, creating a sensation that explodes when chewed. Anyway, you can also choose the variant of noodles for your ramen, there are four choices of ramen noodles in Tokyo Belly, namely Thick & Curly, Red & Hot, Thin & Slim, and Charcoal & Healthy.

Tokyo Belly ramen costs Rp. 52 thousand and was enough to satisfy my curiosity about Tokyo Belly’s ramen variants. When compared to other famous food retail ramen, ramen in Tokyo Belly can of course be on the recommended ramen list if you want a new sensation in eating ramen and choosing what type of noodles you want to eat. (Aldo)