The search that never ends – Ramen 4 life
So…I love Ramen and if you know this blog you know this fact. This summer I made a dream come true and traveled to Japan for 3 weeks and ate Ramen every day from Tokyo to Kyoto, Nagano, Osaka and even on the island of Okinawa. And after eating so much Ramen and Soba (don’t care at all for Udon) my favorite version is the classic Tonkotsu Ramen as it represents the pure intensity and love that goes into this dish.
If you have been to Japan you should know Ichiran Ramen and this is a chain with over 60 locations (some of them outside of Japan …. you lucky bastards) and right about now you are thinking… Food Chain usually all suck…which is true most of the time but you are thinking of Japanese food and mentality and country were I had 0 bad dishes in 3 weeks of traveling.
The quality of food at Ichiran Ramen is incredibly high. The restaurants are funny and an experience by itself because after ordering your food at one of the famous Ramen machines you usually sit in a booth with wooden separators between you and your neighbors (you can put them away if you are there with friends) and get your Ramen through an opening (you never see a waiter just their hands). There you have a faucet for free cold water, a button for additional noodles and that’s it. Pure reduction, pure focus on food.
After more than 40 years experience the balance of the ingredients is incredible, the creamy rich tonkotsu broth, the springy ramen (I always go for a bit harder noodles), the Ichiran red pepper and the thinly slice Chashu pork combines to a delicious bowl of heaven.
There are so many ramen shops, from the little grandma shop to hip hop ramen, rock n roll ramen or any kind you can think of but for me this place was just a tad better than any of the other ones even if it hurts me to say that a chain restaurants kills the little shops around the corner but hey this is all a matter of opinion. So go out there and find your own.
To be honest there are a couple of places that are just as good in Tokyo like Kagari, Suzuran or Tonchin but as you leave Tokyo …Ichiran Ramen stays with you.
Cue for the machines. Hold money at hand. Don’t be scared just concentrate and push the biggest button for the classic Tonkotsu, this includes everything unless you want something double (egg, Chashu) then press those too.
Find a booth. Sit down. Fill out your form for your favorite version of Ramen – mine: Medium on flavor and richness, with a little garlic, white onions, chashu, double red sauce, and firm noodles. Slide through the opening and say arigatoo – And Kae-Dama is the order for more noodles if you are left with broth. (This tip works for a lot of Ramen Shops)
And don’t forget to watch!