An empty bowl of ramen only means one thing.
POSTED BY JENNIE
I’ve eaten at Ichiran Ramen in Tokyo a total of 3 times, and each time I’ve had to queue from anywhere between 10 to 45 minutes. The first time I tried Ichiran was purely by chance. We saw a queue, we thought whatever it was it must be good, so we joined the line. It was only when we got to the machine at the end of the line did we discover we were having ramen.
I do believe it’s a good thing that we just chanced upon it because we had no expectations. The ramen was served and I was completely blown away by how delicious it was! The layers of flavour, the firmness of the noodles, the tenderness of the pork, really it was amazing. I thought we discovered the next big thing!
Of course it deserved to be Googled and only then did I find out that Ichiran Ramen was already a big thing and had been for some time. Ichiran is a famous Japanese ramen chain that serves only Tonkotsu or pork broth ramen. It may be a chain, with over 60 branches all over Japan, but it feels like home cooked, artisanal ramen.
What makes Ichiran Ramen so delicious? I guess it would be the whole experience, including the queuing. From the moment you order by punching the items you want on the vending machine, to customizing how you want your bowl of ramen, to finally being seated in a bar facing a closed bamboo curtain.
When a restaurant only has 1 item on the menu, you expect them to have perfected it. Ichiran has served only Classic Tonkotsu Ramen since 1960, and they are the masters of their craft.
In their website ichiran.com, they actually reveal their “secrets of deliciousness”. Their pork broth is constantly monitored, simmered and skimmed. There is no odor usually associated with pork broth because the water used is the purest filtered water and the same exact filtration levels are used in every Ichiran shop. I don’t understand how this could have a huge impact on the broth but the proof is in the pudding!
The noodles are thin and delicate and are made fresh daily with humidity being careful calibrated which account for the superior texture of the noodles.
The real secret, which is really top secret since according to their website only 4 people know how to make it is Ichiran’s Spicy Red Sauce or Hiden no Tare. It combines 30 spices and there is an ageing process involved. For me, it is this sauce that makes Ichiran Ramen so memorable.
Forbes.com made a bold claim and named Ichiran the best ramen in the world. Until I try a better bowl of ramne, I’ll have to agree with Forbes.com.
Ichiran Ramen, Shibuya Open 24 Hours 1 Chome-22-7 Jinnan, 渋谷区 Tokyo 150-0041, Japan