Japan Today
Image: SoraNews24

We try out Chan Ramen, an underground type of ramen popular in the ramen community

By Shannon, SoraNews24

Our reporter P.K. Sanjun loves ramen a bit more than the average person. He loves it so much that he tries to learn about all types of ramen out there, even the more obscure ones like chocolate ramen. He recently learned about Chan-kei Ramen (the suffix kei literally means “group”, and is used to refer to a type or style of ramen) from online ramen forums.


“Chan-style Ramen” or “Chan Ramen” storefronts look more or less the same, but they’re not a chain restaurant; they’re distinctive from each other by the restaurants’ names, which are usually someone’s name followed by “chan”. For example, P.K. tried out Nagi-Chan Ramen in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood…


…and Kuma-Chan Ramen, also in Shinjuku.


Along with their signage, Chan Ramen is also similar in flavor. After trying both Nagi-Chan and Kuma-Chan’s chuuka soba–or Chinese-style ramen–he surmised that Chan Ramen typically has a salty soy sauce-based soup, a particularly delicious and thinly-cut chashu pork slice, and is best enjoyed with a side of rice.

For reference: Nagi-Chan Ramen…


…and Kuma-Chan Ramen.


They say two times is coincidence, but three times is proof; so would P.K.’s final taste test prove his theories right? To test them out, he found himself at Chie-Chan Ramen near JR Kanda Station in Tokyo.

He wasted no time in ordering the Chashu Noodles for 1,200 yen, which also came with one optional free serving of rice. Figuring he’d be in for a salty ride, P.K. asked for it with rice.

The piping hot noodles he was served certainly looked like Nagi-Chan and Kuma-Chan noodles. It had a soy sauce-based soup with a generous serving of chashu pork.


The noodles were of an average thickness and slid down the throat easily. As expected, the broth was salty; P.K. was grateful he’d ordered the rice.


The only notable difference P.K. could pick out was that Chie-Chan’s chashu was thicker than Nagi-Chan’s and Kuma-Chan’s.


So his final conclusion was: Chan Ramen has a salty soy sauce broth that goes well with rice, noodles that go down easy, and chashu that packs a flavorful punch.


P.K. took to the Internet to confirm some of his findings. When he searched “Chan Ramen”, he found out that Chan Ramen was sort of a chain store–they are affiliated restaurants. The ultimate goal of Chan Ramen is to increase awareness of chuuka soba. It also turned out that Chie-Chan Ramen is the original Chan Ramen.


So in summary, Chan Ramen is the go-to place for a steaming bowl of salty, pork-y, umami-filled chuka soba. Some of them are open quite early and late, so they’re also great places to stop when little else is open.

Restaurant information

Chie-Chan Ramen / ちえちゃんラーメン

Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kajicho 2-13-7


Open Mondays 10 a.m. – 5 a.m. (next day); Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays 8 a.m. – 5 a.m. (next day); Fridays, Saturdays 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sundays 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24

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© Japan Today

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This looks like traditional shoyu ramen, just pushing the oldskool factor with the "chuuka soba" name and Showa-looking store decor.

The -chan thing sounds like marketing to hide that the place is a chain. My guess is that they want the familiarity/consistency that customers get from a chain but are making the branches look like individual shops to encourage patronage to the owner. "Eat here and help Kuma-chan" etc. Personally, I would not use "underground" to describe any restaurant operating as a chain. The "particularly delicious" chashu also looks overcooked. Its pink on the "aji no mise" signs but is grey in the photos of the noodles the reporter ate.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Chashu pork and noodles but this one sounds too salty for me.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Looks yucky and overpriced. Would I like to eat it? No way Pedro.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

You certainly are a high stakes roller then. (Shanghai girls' reputation).

Getting back to noodle dishes shoyu based in now my favorite but I like a more balanced approach of veg. v. meat. Best ramen ever was Kitakata style in Fukushima which honestly isn't the most balanced in terms of veg. v. meat but it was damn tasty.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@DT is your wife originally from NW China as lamb is more popular out there.

Nope. Shanghai.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@DT is your wife originally from NW China as lamb is more popular out there.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Looks delicious.

My wife makes something very much like this using thinly sliced lamb. Mmmmmmm.

Sounds even more delicious.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

My wife makes something very much like this using thinly sliced lamb. Mmmmmmm.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

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