Lunch in Saturday was at an old favourite of mine in Kanda, a rather unfashionable business district in central Tokyo. Karashibi Kikanbo is legend of the Tokyo ramen scene offering up bubbling vats of liptingling noodles. The name refers to a giant mace wielded by ogres. In line you pick your desired level of heat and tingle. Once you get inside you take a seat at the counter and receive your bowl to an oppressive thrum of drums and chanting, the chef's greetings barely audible over the terrible dread march.


It's a culinary Temple of Doom, "karimaaaa, karimaaaaa" croaks the chef gripping a sopping wet hunk of charsiu to be draped across the top of the noodles along with some sautéed beansprouts. It is without a doubt the best pork garnish I've ever come across in Japan. It breaks apart in flakes like a perfect fried fish, and alone is worth the entire bowl. Fortunately the rest of the ensemble is a delight, with a tingling Szechuan piquant that leaves your inner mouth hypersensitive so that when you sip on your ice water if feels like you've swilled a mouthful of goldschlager and the water is draining into your cheeks from a thousand cuts.