Gunjo (in Tenroku, Osaka) serves noko-tsukemen, which you enjoy in a gentle manner at the back street of an urban area.
Gunjo is within five-minute walk from Tenjimbashisuji-rokuchome Station of the Osaka Municipal Subway and a popular shop in a corner among eating houses called Rengadori (Brick Street). It serves especially good tsukemen and has an ever-present line.
Gunjo is best described by the word “illusion”. It has a simple appearance from which you feel wabi, sabi (a quiet and subdued refinement). There is a simple signboard softly leaned against the wall. Without a line of customers, no one could find the really good ramen shop there. How discreet!
When the shop owner isn’t satisfied with the soup or has run out of it, it is closed temporarily. So the fans of Gunjo proceed on the narrow alley of Rengadori (the picture below), hoping that it is open.
Its menu has mainly two bowls. One is “Ugeki”, a ramen with dried sardine flavor, and the other is “Tsukesoba-nidaime”, cho-noko-tsukemen (very thick cold Chinese noodles accompanied by soup for dipping).
When I visited there, I ordered the latter. By the way, you are asked to pay in advance. After you order a bowl, you have to pay before it is served.
After a ten-minute wait, the soup and noodles carried to my table is the picture below.
The homemade and golden noodles put on the beautiful celadon bowl are the thick, straight ones. I guess they are rinsed in cold water. As you see, they are glossy and chewy. When you bite them, you feel they are smooth and firm with a lot of bite and that they are elastic and matched with the soup.
The soup is a very thick pork-based one flavored with dried seafood. The soup has flame-grilled chashu (a roasted pork fillet) of pork back ribs, a lot of white welsh onions, and menma (fermented and seasoned bamboo shoots) in it. When I took a sip of it, the taste of dried seafood and pork-based soup first spread into my mouth, but then the taste was accompanied by the pleasant acidity of citrus flavor and the flavor of flame-grilled chashu. And the soup tasted sweet.
The fact is that tsukemen of Gunjo features the sweetness. I felt as if I were eating a pasta with pork-based demi-glace sauce. I don’t know whether the taste came from the flavor of flame-grilled chashu or whether it came from the essence of well-boiled vegetables.
I was slurping the noodles for a while, wondering where the taste came from, but I gradually became preoccupied with eating them. When I came to myself, it was too late and I almost finished eating them.
When I drained the bowl to the last drop and had a breathing time, inside the shop with no BGM, I only heard the owner grilling chashu, the soup bubbling, and the customers slurping the noodles. What a bracing tranquility!
You leave the hustle and bustle of big cities and enjoy exquisite ramen without rush. Such a luxurious time may be one of the features Gunjo offers to you. (Translated by Daisuke Miyatori)
Ugeki (雨劇) 130g：¥680, 200g:¥780
Tsukesoba-nidaime (つけそば二代目) 200g:¥750, 300g:¥850, 400g:¥950 … and more
6-3-26, Tenjimbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka
- Nearest Station
Tenjimbashisuji 6-chome(Osaka Municipal Subway), Temma(JR Osaka Loop Line)
- Opening Hours
11:00 to 15:00(Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri)
18:00 to 22:00(Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri)
11:00 to 14:00(Sat)
*Closed on Wednesday, Sunday and Japanese National Holiday.