Ichiran Ramen

Ichiran Shibuya

When making a stop in Japan for the first or 10th time, Ichiran ramen will be a staple with dozens of locations throughout Japan and even in HK, Taiwan and NYC. It’s a good place to determine what you like in a tonkotsu ramen because of the selections they make you choose different options (described below). You can gauge where you like your ramen and try out different shops in Japan. Ichiran is very consistent from locations inside Japan, solid good food cooked to your preference inside the individual cubicles with quick service.

Review

While in Japan one of the things you must have is ramen. It seems to be one of those foods that will just hit the spot. There are tons of ramen options in Japan too from different restaurants to different styles. For me tonkotsu is one of my favorites, consisting of pork and chicken bones/fat boiled over high heat for hours until it gets thick, with a milky color.

The meal

Ichiran has a foreigner friendly order style, common for a lot of ramen restaurants in japan it using a vending machine where you purchase your order and you obtain tickets to give to the chef. The twist here is that you get your tickets and you go sit in a cubicle with folding sides and in front of you there’s a shade which is the only interaction you get with the staff. You get your HB pencil and fill in the form which is placed in your cubical. The options are for broth flavour strength, richness(flavoured oil), garlic, onions, hot sauce, noodle texture and if you want pork. You can also add items while at you’re table after you ordered, just fill in the additional form and put the money on the table and push the service button.

I suggest getting the chilled oolong tea, its one of the best tea drinks I had in Japan it’s got some herbal qualities without being over powering and the sweetness is just balancing everything else, it goes well with a hot bowl of rich ramen. However I don’t suggest the tofu dessert/appetizer. The tofu is just 2 containers of neutral flavored tofu one for an appetizer apparently and one you add brown caramel syrup to and have as a dessert, don’t waste your stomach space on this, just go somewhere else for dessert. There are far better options in Tokyo and Osaka.

sub par Tofu Dessert, Shibuya

The egg comes with the shell on, so be ready to peel. The last ingredient is the pork and it’s about par with what’d you expect in your ramen in Japan, I prefer shops that will torch or grill the slice before serving.

Ichiran ramen is a good consistent staple, I first had it in Shibuya on a rainy day fighting the army of umbrellas. The broth is above average; deep, creamy, rich, and full of umami while not having the sodium levels to instantly kick you into a food coma. Try the noodles are the more firm side because they aren’t the normal alkaline ramen noodles. The taste is better without the alkaline noodles but it gives up the noodles ability to hold and have that chewy texture. The broth is a more important aspect from the noodle but that’s just my opinion,

Just a heads up for two busy areas. Shibuya in Tokyo has a 2 locations, so if ones packed you can just go to the other, the heard of Dontonburi in Osaka has a 24hr location across the water/running man and a smaller less popular location on the smaller streets which also has an express store for buying prepackaged soup base and other items you can take home with you.

Shibuya Crossing

Ichiran,

Shibuya, Tokyo/Dontonburi, Osaka
Various
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