Chapter 17 – Ramen Izakaya Yu-Gen 遊玄

下面有中文。日本語は下記。

I sent my mom to the airport late yesterday. On the way, mom was being mom, repeating the same things over and over for countless times, and I was just rolling my eyes, playing along as if I was really listening. She did say one thing that echoes hard with my personal philosophy, however – “Life is short, so live today like it’s your last, and enjoy every single moment.” I often dream about becoming financially free in less than five years. And I think these two-three weeks away from work have once again solidified how much I hate working the 9-5 (or 7-4 in my case). I hate while I am weak and recovering at home, I still need to report to my managers. I hate how I am going to the doctor’s appointment, worrying about the little dwindling sick days I have left. I hate how now I used up all my sick days (5 days a year) and had to use my paid vacations. F*ck all that sh*t, seriously. I want to be in control of my own life, and decide where and when I want to work. But at the same time, mom’s always right. While I work to expand my restaurant business and personal finance, I also need to take things slow and learn to enjoy the present.

Anyway, onto the ramen. This week I have recovered exceptionally well, and my appetite has slowly come back. I even made a list of all the ramen parlors I need to visit in January when I return to Tokyo with my two besties from middle school, A and B, and business partner R, even when looking at all the gourmet food makes me all the more hungry. Well, I guess the remaining four weeks will be like the last 3 miles in a marathon. I’d just need to suck it up. On the bright side, however, I have decided on the first ramen restaurant to visit once the doc cuts open the rubber bands holding my jaws together. The place is “Ramen Izakaya Yu-Gen” in Mountain View.

I’ve been to “Yu-Gen” two or three times before, and it tasted much like any ordinary Americanized ramen restaurant. It was good and filled my appetite, but never did my soul. Not this time, though. I went about a month ago. Earlier in the same week, I went to Chapter 15 – Shalala with A already, and the noodles that day was probably the best in the history of Shalala! We both thought the tsukemen was unbeatable, at least in the US. But just when we thought naively, we came across “Yu-Gen” two days after, and the broth, the ramen and also the tsukemen completely blew our minds.

The moment I gulped down my first spoon of ramen and soup, I wasn’t quite sure if I was sane about how crazily good the food was. I knew I had to get A’s confirmation. “Is this, like, better than Shalala?” He nodded and said, “Damn bro, this could be the best ramen I’ve had in a long time!” Hahaha. I was relieved, and of course still shocked at the quality Americanized noodles in front of me.

I want to highlight “Yu-Gen’s” tsukemen especially. Tsukemens in the US are different from authentic tsukemens in Japan. Even at the most authentic ramen parlor you can find here, they are still not up to par. The noodles aren’t as thick, they lack the chewiness and the broths usually miss the key seafood/fish ingredients. Not saying they are bad, but they’re just not up to my standard. Not this time though, not at “Yu-Gen”. Sure the noodles were still not authentic, but the broth, the chewiness and most importantly the way they present the tsukement like a teishoku set completely blew me away.

To be honest, I am not sure if we were just blessed by the Ramen God that day, or if “Yu-Gen” actually hired a new chef or found a secret jackpot recipe. But one thing is for sure, I’m definitely coming back here the day doc releases me!


哈囉,各位。昨天稍早的時候已經將老媽送到機場回來了。再往機場的路上,老媽一如既往的撈叨個不停,叮嚀這叮嚀那的,而我也就像平常一樣地喔喔喔的敷衍著。相信很多跟我一樣嚮往自由的人都能了解,跟父母相處最好的長度大概是一個禮拜。少了話感覺沒盡孝道,多了的話又會開始聽老爸老媽每天在重複同一件事情幾百遍。不過今天老媽倒是難得的說出了一句我的人生哲理,即「人生極短,活在當下,及時行樂。」老媽你不用擔心,11月計畫去滑雪,12月又是我生日,再來年底跟明年年初又要回台灣跨年還有跟中學的死黨們去日本吃喝玩樂。我雖然想早點成就經濟自由的夢想,但同時對及時行樂這點也是完全沒在手軟的啦!不過目前最期待的還是四個禮拜後可以重新吃飯的那天的到來。之前可能因為身體比較虛所以沒食慾,可以毫無抱怨的天天吃些流質物品。但這幾天看日本的美食節目,真的是越來越望梅也止不了渴了。感覺接下來這四個禮拜會像是馬拉松的最後幾公里一樣的難熬。比起肉體上的受損更多是精神上的折磨…不過我會加油的!

說到吃呢,最近真的是越來越想吃拉麵了。已經開始在列去東京後該造訪的拉麵清單了。不過嘴巴拆橡皮筋後,首先第一家要去吃的是絕對是「Ramen Izakaya Yu-Gen 遊玄」。跟Chapter 15 – Shalala一樣,我很推薦這裡特殊的沾麵。之前可能有說過,美國的沾麵不管是在多麼道地的拉麵店也還是跟日本的不太一樣,對我來說並不能稱得上是真正的沾麵。跟日本的沾麵比起來,麵比較細,嚼起來也比較沒有那麼Q,再來湯也好像少了海鮮的底。也不是說不好吃啦,但畢竟在美國開店還是得微調成美國大眾能接受的口味。不過一直很想念日本的正版的沾麵的我,這天吃了「遊玄」後整感改觀了。擺盤像是日式定食一樣很特別,麵又跟一般美國的沾麵不太一樣,整個好吃來得太突然,有點嚇到。

其實以前就有來過「遊玄」兩三次了,但當時可能是店剛開吧,味道可能還沒研究徹底。當時就像是一般美國的「和風拉麵」一樣,不是真的那麼的道地。不過最近一次來時,整個味道完全不一樣,好吃到我有點說不出話。時間大概是一個月前吧?其實在同一個星期的兩三天前,已經吃過好吃度變動很大的Shalala了,而且那次的Shalala可能是Shalala史上第一或第二好吃的湯頭。但是那天吃了「遊玄」後,我好吃到說不出話。當下有點半信半疑,不知道是不是自己味覺出了問題,所以問了同行的A友人,「哇靠,今天的麵是不是很屌?有沒有可能是北加最好吃的拉麵?」而他也同意的回說,可能是最近幾個月吃過最好吃的拉麵,甚至超越Shalala。

老實說不知道這次的好吃是不是像Shalala一樣要碰運氣的,還是說店裡換了新廚師或新配方,但這家店真的很值得去一探究竟。而且我已經決定了,四個禮拜可以吃正常食物後,我第一家要吃的拉麵就是它-「遊玄」。


こんにちは、みなさん。昨日の夜、母さんを空港まで見送ってきた。バイバイって言う際、母さんがこう語った。「光陰矢のごとし。だから、現在を生きるね!」と。本当はそうだね。金を稼いでるつでにも人生を楽しまなきゃ。まあ、11月にスノボに行くし、12月また台湾に戻るし、さらにお正月は日本。だから、お母さんご心配なく、十分人生を楽しんでるよ。まあ、今日からまた一人生活になって、寂しいっちゃ寂しいけど、親とかと共同生活するのはやっぱ一週間が限界だね。あと、クイーンサイズベッドもまた独占できるのは嬉しいww。ところで、月曜日から久々にオフィスに入るのも楽しみだね。まだ口が封じられて喋れないけど、どうなるかおもしろくなりそうだ。

さてさて、今週のラーメンはChapter 15 – Shalalaに引き続いての同じつけ麺がおすすめの「Ramen Izakaya Yu-Gen 遊玄」です。前も言ったと思うけど、アメリカのつけ麺はどんだけ本格的なラーメン屋でも、麺はホントのつけ麺じゃないと言ってきた。本場のつけ麺ほど太くはないし、歯ごたえも全く違う。まあ、悪い意味で言ってるじゃないけど、ただただこっちに店を開くのにはやっぱある程度こっちの人に味を合わせていかないと受け入れられないかなって、正直日本のつけ麺は本当に恋しい。とはずーっと思いきや、この店のつけ麺と出会ったらまた全然違う思いができた。

以前はもちょいちょい「遊玄」に来てたけど、普通のちょっとアメリカっぽい和風ラーメンだねって思っていたけど。一番最近この店また訪ねたら、味が全く違って、美味しくなりすぎてびっくりした。時は一ヶ月ぐらい前。実はその週の2日3日前には、もうすでに美味しさがよく変わってるShalalaを食べたけど、その日のShalalaはもうShalalaの史上でもいっちばん美味しいと今でも思う。でも、その後「遊玄」を食べたら、「これはやばい。Shalalaを超えてる、むしろNorCalで食べたやつのすべて超えてるぞ」と思いつつ、半分疑う気分で友人のAさんに確かめたけど、彼もまじでやばいこんなうまいラーメン久しぶりだぞって頷いてきた。オレの頼んだ豚骨ラーメンもすっごく美味しいけど、Aさんが頼んだつけ麺はうまい上で、盛り付けも斬新でものすごく衝撃だった。しかも、今メニューを見直したとこで、つけ麺は一日10杯限定だと。

正直今回の味の旨さはたまたま運が良かったか、新しいシェフやレシピに変わったのかわからないけど、「遊玄」は絶対試してみる価値があるし、四週間後口開けられたら、絶対一軒目で食べると今考えてる。それでは、また来週〜

Special Tonkotsu Ramen $10.95

Dipping Ramen $10.95

152 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA, USA 94041

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