We waited in line for about 20 minutes while the other restaurants were almost completely empty, ironic because Nantsuttei has probably the worst interior design of all the restaurants – its mix of corrugated iron panelling and red faux leather seats looks like an American trailer car diner gone wrong. At least you get the menu while you wait, and it’s full of funny illustrations and instructions on how you should go about slurping your Nantsuttei noodles (spoiler: pretty much the same as anywhere, apart from letting the pork soak for a spell. My advice: how about giving us some fattier meat?). I’ll just let the pictures tell you themselves.
The basic ramen I had for $12 was worth coming back for, even if it only had one slice of lean roast pork. The soup and signature layer of black “ma-yu” oil topped with spring onions work together well; it never crosses your mind to worry about garlic breath. Noodle density is comfortably in the middle of the scale, with the firm end represented by Ippudo’s wiry, crunchy strands, and the spongy end by the 2-minute instant variety I eat every other night. You get a fair amount of them too. $17 gets you all the trimmings: extra negi, pork, and vegetables, to which you might want to add another dollar for a runny “hot spring” egg.