Yamate Ramen: Six Hundred Million Euglena Can’t Be Wrong

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Euglena is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as a “genus of single-celled organisms with both plant and animal characteristics.” These 0.05 millimeter protozoans can be found in both fresh and salt water and, if you go to Tokyo, you may just find some in your ramen soup. Around six hundred million, to be exact.

Euglena ramen was masterminded by the ramen shop Yamate Ramen and the aptly named microalgae biotech company Euglena Co. According to Euglena Co.’s official website, in 2005, the company was the first to succeed in outdoor commercial mass cultivation of euglena for food. Then, in July 2011, this ancient protist and relatively recent noodle found each other in a thankfully not-primordial soup sold at Yamate Ramen.

Yamate Ramen’s euglena ramen is called “midori ramen” (みどりラーメン)in Japanese and, as the this name may imply, the ramen is indeed very green and includes plenty of “midori mushi” (euglena) powder. Personally, I had to try the classic midori ramen (750 yen), but at the Hongo location, you also have the option of midori tsukemen (800 yen).

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Whether you go for the ramen or the tsukemen, a mountain of vegetables will be on top and an ocean of euglena will be in the soup. This combination, along with the added herbs and olive oil, gives the midori ramen an earthy taste, undeniably unique in a culinary sector dominated by salt and oil. Midori ramen may indeed be as healthy as it looks and tastes; euglena has 59 varieties of nutrients and is being studied as a dietary supplement for those in impoverished areas.

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The shop itself is deceptively “normal” for a place that sells a sustainable and nutritious take on ramen. No hemp bracelets for sale at the door, no aquaponics setup in the back and no murals of euglena on the walls. Instead, you’ll find the standard ramen ticket vending machine at the door, college students from nearby Tokyo University manning the counter, and midori ramen sitting next to miso ramen on the menu. This familiarity only serves to deepen Yamate Ramen’s charm.

Access:

Yamate Ramen Official Website [Japanese]

Yamate Ramen Main Shop (Komaba Location)
Open: 11:00 am to 1:00 am (next day)
Address: Shibuya Palace 101, 2-21-7 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Telephone: 03-5453-7290

Yamate Ramen Annex (Uehara Location)
Open: 11:30 am to 1:00 am (next day) (Monday through Saturday)
11:30 am to 23:00 pm (Sunday)
Address: 1-13-9 Uehara, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Telephone: 03-3467-7290

Yamate Ramen Anan (Hongo Location)
Open: 11:00 am to 1:00 am (next day)
Address: 5-23-11 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Telephone: 03-3812-7295

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Spends weekends aimlessly wandering Tokyo.
  • Yoshiyuki TEZUKA says:

    I never tried this midori ramen, so I will try soon. I’m also surprized at tomato ramen which I can find the board in front of the shop.

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