Ramen at Hope-ken (ホープ軒)

Ramen at Hope-ken (ホープ軒)

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Recommended bowl: Open 24/7/364

Hope-ken's history dates all the way back to the1920s, when a Tokyo entrepreneur established a chain of yatai (street food stalls), first called 'home run ken' and then changed to 'hope-ken.' There were over 100 stalls in the chain at various locations at one point. One of the old guys who ran one of the stalls, Ushikubo-san, later opened this brick and mortar outpost in Sendagaya in 1960. The shop has four floors, and they serve a greasy, no-frills bowl of tonkotsu shoyu ramen topped with pork back fat. The first floor is standing-only, for customers who want to eat quickly (such as taxi drivers). On the second and third floors there are both counter and table seating. Occupying the fourth floor is the room where they make the noodles. No one will tell you that Hope-ken serves the most cutting-edge ramen, but it's a legend, especially amongst taxi drivers. Open 24/7 on 364 days of the year (closed Jan. 1).

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