The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Ramen Experience @ Ichiran, Tokyo

I'm not a big fan of ramen (too reminiscent of instant noodles), but I must admit that I wanted to try some of these noodles after reading this blog about tonkotsu ramen last year. Mind you, I was pregnant with Zak at the time, and although I had no cravings for any particular things, my huge appetite had grown even bigger. For some reason or another, we never did get around to visiting one of those ubiquitous ramen shops that satisfy many a sarariman ("salaryman") and oeru ("office lady") in search for a quick, filling and cheap (albeit unhealthy) meal during and/or after office hours.

My younger sister Honey recently arrived in Tokyo, and was told by a friend that she must eat the tonkotsu ramen at Ichiran (coincidentally - or not - the same one I'd read about last year). This past weekend, Honey and I were in the area near the Roppongi branch of this Fukuoka-based tonkotsu ramen shop, and that was where we headed to for lunch that day. It was an interesting experience. There's a vending machine near the entrance into Ichiran where customers order and pay for their ramen, and the machine will spit out tokens. We took the guessing game out of how to order, and instead requested English order sheets. There is also a lit display of the restaurant layout indicating empty stalls, which makes it easy to find a seat quickly. The whole process was very efficient, that I felt I was lingering a bit too long in my little booth while waiting for Honey to finish her bowl after I had eaten mine.

The ordering sheet gave us the options to choose our desired flavour strength, richness (fat content), amount of garlic, amount of green onion, with or without roast pork, amount of "secret sauce" and noodle's tenderness. We could also order extra noodles, boiled egg, extra pork and a range of other ingredients to have with our ramen. I ordered my ramen with medium flavour, light richness, regular garlic, strong green onion, with roast pork, half "secret sauce" and medium done noodles. I also got a ni tamago (boiled egg) for 100yen extra.

So how was it? Well, I thought it tasted just like instant noodles (and I'm no fan of those packets either). Honey loved the ramen, so maybe it's just me. I honestly don't understand the ramen craze, and could quite easily live without it. This ramen experience may have been lost on me, but ramen fans would love these tonkotsu ramen at Ichiran.


  1. Hmmmmm,yummmy, ok,something i would definatly want to try now Jean. I am a noodle fan like A. Kekekekeke. Shawn

  2. Well, one of us will bring you there if you make your Japan trip while we're still here! :) You'll like it!