Here’s a twist on what to do when life gives you lemons. If you’re woken up at three am by a husband being noisy downstairs and you can’t go back to sleep, you go grab some ramen.
There’s this super popular ramen shop one town over that is only open from 3:15 am until 5:30 am (or until the soup runs out) on weekends. It’s called Marugen. And it’s delicious. The only problem: the opening time. And the lines.
Hard to see, but this is the line. About ten high school kids behind me, too. People arriving all the time. Quite a few see the line and go back home. To sleep probably.
It’s a tiny shack of a place. No parking (you just park anywhere and hope the police to ticket you). Not exactly clean. And I’m guessing maybe ten people can fit inside at once.
Here’s the noren-curtain. Blood splattered by some rogue samurai, I guess. Forty minutes after we arrive and we’re almost in!
Here’s the view from my stool. Chashu-meat, menma-flavored bamboo, stack of bowls.
Everyone’s all nom-nom-nom. You can see the big vat of soup, too. It’s amazing how many people get extra noodles after they’ve finished the first bowl.
I couldn’t get a photo of the chef slinging the hot water from the noodles. It goes all over the floor which is really cool and gross at the same time. Here he is gently slipping the drained noodles into a bowl of soup.
Here’s the finished product. Marugen-chashu. It’s got loads of garlic in it!
The chef is the only one working. He doesn’t have time to wash dishes (huge stack on the side of his work space). And he doesn’t have time to collect money and give change. That last one’s up to you the customer. Everyone checks the wall to see how much their bowl was and pays by leaving their money on the table. If they need change they take from whatever is laying there. Honor system, FTW.
So if you’re ever in Fujieda and happen to wake up super early, I recommend a visit to Marugen. The customers are whacky, the atmosphere is distinctly blue collar, and the noodles are delicious.