Chapter 17 – Ramen Izakaya Yu-Gen 遊玄


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!


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。




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。



Special Tonkotsu Ramen $10.95

Dipping Ramen $10.95

152 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA, USA 94041


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