Tonkotsu Ramen: Ichiran Style

There is nothing more comforting than a piping hot bowl of ramen on a cold winter’s night. Previously, while living in Japan, I made it my mission to find the world’s perfect bowl of ramen, and I did find it in Kyoto, but sadly the shop has since closed. So the search continues.

ichiran ramen

Gift corner inside the restaurant, offering ‘cook it yourself’ ramen gifts that taste almost like the real thing and special soy sauce.

3 nights in Tokyo is hardly enough for us to eat our way around the nation’s capital but we certainly made the most of the time we had.  It was our last night in Tokyo and our only chance to see darling V. We decided on Ichiran Ramen in the Shinjuku area, picked more for it’s unique atmosphere and flavour and close proximity to the station. Although I prefer smaller local establishments, they are a chain restaurant with locations in 14 different prefectures all across Japan.

Real-time seat availability displayed so that customers can see when they'll be seated.

Real-time seat availability displayed so that customers can see when they’ll be seated.

Upon arrival, you place your order via a vending machine and once in the queue, a server will bring a list of options to customise your bowl of ramen to perfection. You can choose the firmness of your noodles, add extra spice, etc. The nice thing is their menus are in both Japanese and English, and since I was absolutely knackered from a day of cheering at the Tokyo Marathon I couldn’t be bothered with Japanese and gladly opted for the English menu.

ichiran ramen egg

I never understood why they ask you to peel your own egg, but it is always perfectly cooked, with the yolk nice and creamy in the centre. The egg is cold, however, so you may want to let it sit in the broth to warm for a few minutes. Once your order arrives the staff will close your cubicle blinds so that you can eat in private.

Photo 15-03-2014 20 05 10If you’re with a group, you can also open up the side partitions to enjoy each others company.

ichiran ramen

Perhaps it was due to the lovely company I had this time, but I felt the Shinjuku shop did a nicer job with the broth than the one in Roppongi. Just looking at this bowl of perfectly cooked noodles and rich hearty broth is making my mouth water and nostalgic for Japan.

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