I was so excited when I learned about Afuri Ramen in Ebisu.
Afuri's signature ramen uses a yuzu shio broth, a lighter broth made from a chicken, seafood, and seaweed stock and accented with yuzu's citrusy and floral flavors. I LOVE yuzu, a fragrant Japanese citrus fruit that I discovered back in 2011 when it was less recognized and less prevalent in the US.
In the close to 15 years since the original location in Ebisu opened, Afuri Ramen has expanded significantly. There are numerous locations around Tokyo now (Harajuku, Nakameguro, Roppongi, Shinjuku, Azabujuban, etc.) and even one location in Portland, Oregon (!).
Despite the expansion, there are STILL lines out the door. This place is super popular, and for good reason.
We showed up early to the original Ebisu location (before 11:30AM) and thankfully had no trouble finding a seat.
We ordered our ramen at a vending machine at the door and then grabbed a seat. There aren't that many choices: you can vary the amount of "Chi-yu" (chicken oil blended with dashi), which will affect the richness and mouthfeel of the broth. You also choose between shoyu (soy sauce) or shio (salt).
Since we felt that a yuzu-based ramen should be lighter, we went with the classic Tenrei option in combination with shio.
The signature Yuzu-shio ramen was delicious. I loved the fragrant yuzu-spiked broth and the noodles were solid.
We also ordered a non-soup ramen, which came with pork belly, mizuna greens, and half of an ajitama egg. The noodles in the non-soup version had a more chewy "QQ" texture than the soup noodle. The flavor of the pork belly and the dipping sauce was also very, very good.
Both noodles dishes were excellent, and we really enjoyed trying out a different style of ramen at this popular spot in Ebisu. The prices are very reasonable: you can easily get out of there just spending 1000 JPY (around $10 USD) for a bowl of ramen.
Show up early to avoid lines. Bring cash to insert in the vending machines. Slurp on amazing noodles while hanging out in the hip location.
Repeat and enjoy!
Afuri Ramen Tokyo
Closest station: Ebisu
Tokyo, Tōkyō 150-0013, Japan