Tori no Ana1/2
Photo: Yuki Nakamura
Ouka2/2
Photo: Yuki Nakamura

Best pork-free ramen in Tokyo

The most authentic bowls of Japanese noodles that don't contain pork

By Emma Steen
Advertising

Heavy bone broth, slabs of chashu and a side of gyoza: ramen is one of the most popular dishes in Japan, with over 3,000 restaurants selling the stuff in Tokyo alone. However, as a dish that’s typically pork-based – tonkotsu ramen is one of the common styles – it leaves those who don’t eat the meat a little stuck for choice.

While plenty of places offer soy-or fish-based ramen, it’s hard for those with dietary restrictions to know if their bowl of noodles will still come with pieces of grilled pork. Here are some recommended spots in Tokyo that use alternative recipes to serve the tastiest pork-free ramen dishes. 

RECOMMENDED: When in doubt, go for these top vegan ramen in Tokyo

Ichiran No-Pork Ramen

Restaurants Nishi-Shinjuku

One of the most popular ramen chains in Tokyo, Ichiran’s formula for serving a fast, solid bowl of noodles to single diners is a foolproof strategy for success in this bustling city. But while customers have long been able to customise their bowls by choosing the firmness of their noodles and the level of garlic in their soup, they couldn’t until now deviate from Ichiran’s signature tonkotsu (pork-based) broth.

Fortunately, the company has opened its first pork-free, alcohol-free joint in Ikebukuro to serve diners with special dietary requirements – the soup is made with soy and chicken stock. If you’re Muslim please take note: the beef added to the bowl as a topping is not halal, but you can get your noodles without it and finish it off with an egg instead. 

Ouka Halal Ramen
Ouka Halal Ramen
Photo: Yuki Nakamura

Ramen Ouka

Restaurants Ramen Shinjuku-Nichome

Everything on the menu here is produced strictly to meet halal requirements – even the otefuki towelettes offered to you as soon as you’re seated are alcohol-free. While Ouka is an obvious choice for Muslim patrons craving noodles, the owner of this friendly Shinjuku joint draws a diverse crowd by making sure it’s as welcoming as possible to everyone. It offers easy access for anyone using a wheelchair as well as parents with strollers. Non-veggies usually opt for the spicy chicken ramen, or the halal-certified wagyu beef ramen on a splurge, but there are also vegan-friendly options for diners looking for a meat-free meal. 

Advertising
Tori no Ana
Tori no Ana
Photo: Yuki Nakamura

Tori no Ana

Restaurants Ikebukuro

The ramen broth here is so rich the restaurant describes it as a potage. Where as most places use pork bones for their stock, Tori no Ana uses chicken, boiling whole carcasses with vegetables for six hours. The key is the abundance of wings added to the mix, which are high in fat and collagen, resulting in a creamy, full-bodied broth.

The original soup recipe is delicious on its own, but there’s a spicier version with miso added to the base if you like ramen that has a kick to it. In lieu of traditional pork chashu, the ramen is topped with a combination of barbecued and minced chicken along with bamboo shoots and spring onions. Tsukemen is also an option if you prefer to dip your noodles in a stronger broth.

Ouka Halal
Ouka Halal
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Chabuzen

Restaurants Setagaya

Only in the trendy yet relaxed Shimokitazawa will you find a ramen shop as cosy and nourishing as this one. You wouldn’t guess by looking at menu items such as curry ramen or ‘karaage’, but everything at Chabuzen Shokudo is vegan. In fact, the restaurant has turned many classic Japanese dishes into a healthy, nutritious spread, free of any additives or chemically processed seasonings like MSG. Using only organic produce in its dishes, right down to the flour used to make the bouncy noodles, the concept of good food has never been more apparent.

Can’t handle gluten? Just ask for the rice noodles instead. It seems Chabuzen has got pretty much everyone covered with plenty of halal options as well that don’t include any kind of miso or sake.

More noodle spots to visit

Advertising
Ten To Sen
Photo: Ten To Sen

Best spicy ramen in Tokyo

Restaurants Japanese

In the mood for a particularly punchy bowl of ramen? These spicy noodle soups will set your taste buds on fire (in a good way)

Bookable tours

ramen tasting tour byfood
Photo: Serkan Toso

Ramen Tasting Tour

Things to do Shinjuku

Got a big appetite and an even bigger love for ramen? This tour gives you a sampling of a whopping six mini bowls of ramen. Your guide, a ramen aficionado, will take you to three award-winning restaurants in Nakameguro, Ebisu and Shibuya where you’ll try small, manageable portions of signature bowls. 

ramen gyoza class byfood
Photo: Masahito Hirano

Make Your Own Ramen and Gyoza in Asakusa

Things to do Shinjuku

This two hour class teaches the basics of making ramen from scratch, including the noodles and umami-rich broth. With the help of a Japanese cooking instructor, you’ll learn the details and nuances to keep the ramen fresh until you devour it. 

Recommended

    You may also like

      Best selling Time Out Offers
        Advertising