Oji Ramen brings Tokyo to Chennai with homemade noodles in hearty broths

Shoyu Vegetable Ramen at OG Ramen

Shoyu Vegetable Ramen and OG Ramen | photo credit: special arrangement

The posterboy of Japanese cuisine in Chennai has been Sushi for a while now. While ramen has been a strong contender on the world stage, the city has had little luck with ramen restaurants. About a decade ago, Go Go Ramen opened in Alwarpet, giving people a chance to live out their anime and manga fantasies. But its closure in 2019 left a gap that the recently opened OG Ramen aims to fill.

OG Ramen in Alwarpet

OG Ramen in Alwarpet | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

This restaurant on Bawa Road is reminiscent of the many hole-in-the-wall places seen in Japanese movies and anime, where middle-aged chefs pour bowls of soupy noodles with precise precision. This is where the name of the restaurant also comes from; “Oji is uncle in Japanese,” says operations chief Arunima Karmakar.

Chicken Gyoza

Chicken Gyoza | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Menu has limited options. Gyoza is the sole starter and is available in vegetarian, chicken and pork variants. The chicken is pleasing in its simplicity, flavored with napa cabbage, ginger, garlic and sesame oil. It is served with a light soy sauce and a ponzu dipping sauce made from mirin (a rice wine popular in Japanese cooking).

Big bowls of ramen are brought in next. We tried the Shoyu Vegetable Ramen and OG’s Special Mix Ramen.

The vegetarian ramen features silky tofu, scallions, char-grilled napa cabbage, crunchy bok choy, bean sprouts, oysters, shiitake mushrooms and nori strips floating on a clear soup. The broth is vegetable and soy based, and has little flavor. Noodles dipped in broth are made fresh.

OG's Special Blend Ramen

OG’s Special Mix Ramen | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

OG’s Special Mix ramen is made with pork broth that is cooked for eight hours and chicken broth that is cooked for six hours. It’s topped with soy milk, which gives the broth a thick body. Its surface consists of slow-cooked pork, poached chicken, scallions, nori and the runny yolk of two halves of an egg.

You may have to wait in line. However, the meal is quick, and the conversations short, mostly because they are punctuated by the sound of slurping noodles.

Oji Ramen is located at 103B, Old, New No: 50/A, Bava Street, Alwarpet. The cost of a meal for two is ₹1200.

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