ICHIRAN Ramen is perhaps one of the most popular ramen chains in Tokyo. It’s easy spotting an Ichiran Ramen shoppe with “一蘭”, and no doubt, the ramen chain is spreading its popularity across Asia, with branches in Hong Kong and Singapore. If you have been to Hong Kong, you’ll know that Ichiran operates 24/7 daily and that the lines can be painstaking even at 4:00 in the morning. When in Tokyo, the best place to experience authentic, affordable tonkotsu ramen is definitely at Ichiran.
Like any other ramen shoppes in Tokyo, Ichiran has a vendo machine style of ordering your tonkotsu ramen. Ichiran does not diversify its menu, but rather concentrates on one mean bowl of tonkotsu ramen. Ramen is priced at 790 yen, which is quite cheap though significantly a couple of yen higher than less-known ramen shoppes in Tokyo.
To order, you will first have to insert yen in bills or coins to the machine and press the ramen button. For me, I also added soft boiled egg (210 yen) because in my words, “Ramen is not complete without egg.”
And then get your ticket and the staff will lead you to cubicles where you can enjoy ramen in solitude. Ichiran’s system is for a quick bowl of ramen but its quite an enjoyable experience. There’s a faucet for cool drinking water which I love and everything you need is right in front of you.
Each of the cubicles have a small opening in front of you where you can interact with the staff. The setup of the restaurant is really designed ergonomically to be quick and efficient. And you can really enjoy your privacy as you slurp down your bowl of ramen.
The staff will hand you over a sheet on how you want your ramen, from the thickness of the broth, to the level of special red sauce that Ichiran is well-known for and the firmness of your noodles. I’d recommend to go for extra-firm noodles.
It really took quite some time before my tonkotsu ramen showed up even when the ramen shoppe was not full that day. (It was summer and a bowl of ramen is bound to make you thirsty!)
The broth was really luscious and the special red sauce quite something in my bowl of simple tonkotsu ramen. I like simplicity in my food and Ichiran makes a decent ramen. Later on my hakata noodles got a bit soggy.
The egg wasn’t that soft boiled so I was a bit disappointed.
And yes, best if you finish your bowl to reveal the magic words underneath!
Every single drop is the greatest of all happiness.
It was a great experience to dine at Ichiran, and probably the best way to experience Japan’s efficient vendo style ordering system. While the ramen I had wasn’t probably the best I ever had, I’d head back to Ichiran for a quick ramen fix in a heartbeat.
|Taste and Originality:||(3.0 / 5)|
|Customer Experience:||(4.5 / 5)|
|Value for Money:||(4.5 / 5)|
|Brick and Mortar:||(3.0 / 5)|
|Average:||(3.8 / 5)|