The Illegal Ramen Vendors of Postwar Tokyo - Gastro Obscura
By October 1945, an estimated 45,000 black market stalls existed in Tokyo. The city was also home to the most famous black market in Japan, Ameyokocho. Located underneath an active train line in the center of the city, it was packed with open-air stalls selling everything from candy to ramen and clothing. In this bustling environment, vendors announced their presence with the distinctive sound of charumera flutes and sold ramen from a yatai, a wheeled food cart filled with drawers containing noodles, pork slices and garnishes, alongside pots of boiling soup and water. Prices were also low due to the abundance of American wheat and lard.