My biggest pet peeve – not trying the local delicacy when travelling. Okay, I had a *KOFF* Whopper with cheese in Dubai in January, but KFC in Paris? Shawarma in Roppongi? Come on.

One thing I noticed in the past 12 months or so was a sudden increase in number of Japanese eateries that do halal food[1]. I had halal ramen and that was at the student shokudō in Tōdai a couple of years back if you remember. Last month, I managed to eat at Mentei Naritaya「麺亭 成田屋」, a ramen shop in Asakusa, and get this – owned by a Malaysian called Asri-san. His shop was along a covered lane that is literally brings you straight to Sensō-ji. I don’t know how much closer you can be to a major tourist spot in Tōkyō. This is not Asri’s first ramen outlet as his main shop is in Ibaraki. And to date, he has opened two more – one in Kyōto and another in Sendai.

The atmosphere at Naritaya feels just like any other Japanese ramen eaterie. To me, at least. And I mean this in a good way. This was no wannabe shop with a Fuji-san poster in an attempt to add a touch of authenticity. The menu was in both nihon-go and English (no need for eigo no menu ga arimasen ka here). There was also a tatty “please ask before taking photos” sign next to the shōyu and chilli paste bottle on the bar. The staff was very friendly.

Mentei Naritaya was a tad quiet when we reached the place, prolly due to it being seijin no hi that day. Apart from us were three Indonesian ladies sat at one end of the bar chatting way. My friend and I ordered the Asakusa ramen 「浅草ラーメン」, which basically has ramen topped with chicken (looks like chāshū[2]), spinach, bamboo shoot slices 「menma」, shōyu boiled egg 「shōyu tamago」and nori, in a shōyu-based broth. Being famished, we also ordered the chicken don 「鶏丼」and kara age 「唐揚げ」 as sides!

The ramen was lovely although I felt that the Asakusa-styled broth was a tad salty. The chicken was tender, and this was the first time I had menma in Japan – it was soft unlike the chewy ones I’ve tried over here in the UK. Talking about firsts, this was also the first time I had kara age in Japan despite the *koff* number of times I’ve been here.

With Tariq-san, Asri-san and Shimada-san at Naritaya. ごちそうさまでした!

I can’t remember the ramen size I had but it was about 700円 a bowl. Will defo come again!

2-7-13 Asakusa, Taito, Tōkyō 111-0032
Opens 10AM – 10PM

After checking in my luggage at Terminal 2 at NRT on the way home to KUL, I decided to have kare raisu (curry rice) for brunch. A bit weird, but I have to try this place called La Toque (transl. the chef’s hat!)- which has a menu that’s entirely halal. It even had a Malaysian halal cert on the window.

With it being 10AM this place was quiet too. The menu had lots to choose from, and I went for the chikin katsu kare (ebi katsu is nice too but I can eat udang anytime in Japan!). The serving was massive. Just look at it:

The spiciness of the kare was medium and the chicken was lovely – the crunchiness of the panko coating the chicken just made it yum. I didn’t mind the large serving as I was gonna sleep all the way back to KUL anyway. The next time I wanna try the steak. BIFSTIK LIMAAA!

4F Main Building, Terminal 2, Narita International Airport, 古込1−1, Narita, 千葉県 282-0004
Opens daily 7.30AM – 8.30PM

[1]Thanks to a certain sporting event in 2020.
[2]Can eat lah!