My experience at Ichiran Ramen in Tokyo
Despite living extremely close to the Ichiran Ramen in Causeway Bay, I haven’t gone because of the huge lines in Hong Kong. However, after going to the Cup Noodles Museum, I was tempted to try some of Ichiran’s ramen and see what the hype was all about. I’m also skeptical about these types of places, but I must say it probably was the best ramen I’ve ever had. I went to the Ichiran location in Shinjuku, but they have tons of locations all throughout Japan.
On a Sunday night I waited about 20 minutes, not too bad for a seat in Shinjuku. The process is this, wait in line, go to the vending machine and buy your ramen, ingredients, drinks, etc. Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to buy everything here, you can just pay cash and add-on after you sit down as well. Get your vending machine tickets, wait some more inside, then get seated at your own personal booth. It’s a very private experience and you don’t get too really see the other diners much.
At your booth you’ll fill in how you want your ramen, e.g. noodle firmness, how rich the broth is, how much spicy sauce to put in, etc. Then you’ll ring the bell and someone will come collect your tickets and say some stuff in Japanese. I don’t know what they said since I don’t speak Japanese. They’ll start bringing out your items and give you a respective bow and close the blinds for privacy while eating. It’s a whole show which I found to be a bit unique. I can recommend picking the middle level for all of the items, but I did forgo the spicy sauce since I don’t enjoy spicy. I also added an egg and extra pork since I find a regular portion too small.