Nishi-cho Taiki 西町大喜

Recommended as one of the best (or, at least, most significant) ramen restaurants in Toyama, my friend and I went to the original Nishi-cho Taiki location as he continued his month-long vacation in Japan.

While traveling to all corners of Japan, my friend had a list of all the best ramen in each city and region. Toyama only one on the list, Nishi-cho Taiki.

They have expanded to three locations in their near 80 years of business, but my friend and I visited the original location. It is a small hole-in-the-wall kinda place near the main shopping area of downtown Toyama. It's also across the street from Toyama's Glass museum.

You probably couldn't even tell it was there unless you knew what you were looking at.

Inside is a thin row of seats with a minimal amount of decoration. Like most traditional ramen places, it was built for speed and efficiency. Get in, eat, and get out. The other locations look much more spread-out and modern.

The signature dish of Nishi-cho Taiki is their Chukka Soba 中華そば. At this location, the standard sized bowl was 950.

Apparently, Nishi-cho Taiki established the Toyama-style of Black Ramen with its thick fatty noodles, heavy soy-sauce flavored broth, and numerous amounts of toppings. Taiki's ramen has Chashu (pork), onions, and pepper.

Everything is piled on top, and as indicated by the waitress, you should mix it around a bit before digging in.

It's been a while since I've had such heavy meaty ramen. I've been out of the ramen game a little while, and also Takayama's ramen has very thin noodles and thin broth. The standard size is pretty much the perfect amount of ramen. Yet, they also offered sizes that were 1.5 times and double the standard. I don't know how anyone could eat those.

With all the onions and pepper, the ramen had a somewhat hidden, gradually building, and lingering spiciness to it, which was very unique. I always consume everything I order, so I always eat/drink the broth, which is not the Japanese norm. The broth was very dark with the amount of soy-sauce infused in it. Ramen isn't the most healthy food to begin with, but with the amount of soy-sauce included, I would not recommend eating/drinking all of it, like I had. With the amount of onions and pepper in there, too, I needed a lot more water than what they provided.

Overall, I thought it was pretty good, but I'm not a fan of Black Ramen. I wouldn't put it very high of a pantheon of ramen.

You can find more information about the restaurant on their website:

Also, here's a scan of their pamphlet.

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