Ichiran Ramen – Ueno Station, Tokyo Japan

I have just completed my post about my first day in Japan. Moving on, as I prepare my 2nd day’s posting I realized just this ramen alone warrants a dedicated blog post.
Ichiran is a famous ramen chain in Tokyo. It is 24 hours (yes 24 hours ramen slurping goodness!) and its unconventional dining ways (or maybe unconventional just to us Malaysians) is something that I want to share here. 🙂

First of all, the shop that I dined in was just at Ueno Station (still in Tokyo Japan) itself. I remember just walking out of the station (not sure which exit) and here it is!
The queue was long even though it was way pass dinner time.

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION

The queue was not just to wait for a seat. It was to first order via a machine and pay.

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -002

From the entrance, you turn left to this narrow lane which then you’ll see this 2 “vending” like machines.

Facing it, you will realize that everything listed is basically Ichiran’s menu.

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -003

There’s only ONE type of ramen and additional options are to add more meat, add an egg and a few other items.
Start with the ramen at 790 Yen; add noodles if you wish. Just press the buttons and pay accordingly.

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -004

Add an egg for 100 Yen, pork slices for 150 Yen and so forth. Very simple.

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -005

The machine will dispense ONE ticket per ITEM and you pay right there and then. Then wait in line for your seat.

I took a peek while standing in line and saw this dining area. There’s hangers on the wall for your coats/winter jackets.

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -001

But Chong (my friend and self-appointed guide for the 2nd day) said oh no, we are not sitting in such “comfortable” setting. He just grinned and asked me to wait and see.

When it was our turn, we were ushered to our available seats and here it is!

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -007

A row of cubicles where everyone seats side by side and eat silently! The space is just big enough for one and the “gap” in front is for the staff to serve you your order.
Once they set your bowl of ramen down and whatever else orders you may have, the gap is closed up with a board. I suddenly had a flash of realization – isn’t this how food is served in prisons? LOL!

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -006

Once seated, it’s self service again. Grab a sheet and pencil from the left side and further state your further preferences;
1. Salty
2. Strong
3. Thickness of broth
4. Spring onions
5. Garlic
6. Char Siew or not
7. Chilli sauce
8. Noodles softness – I chose standard for most of the options.

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -009

Put the sheet and your tickets (you get these once you have paid at the machine) and the wait staff will come around and take it from you. As you can see below; mine is 790 for a bowl of ramen and 100 Yen for an egg.

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -010

In less than 5 minutes your ramen will be served. Meanwhile help yourself to the complimentary water. Cups are on the top section of your cubicle and the water faucet is in front of you.

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -011

Only Tonkotsu Ramen is served here and the red chilli sauce is their specialty.

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -013

2 thin slices of pork, lots of green onions, soft noodles and very deeply flavoured broth for 790 Yen (RM32). It was delicious!

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -015

Oh, they serve the egg in the shell so I had to peel it on my own! It didn’t turn out very pretty huh?

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -021

But everything was superb. The soup, the noodles, the pork, the egg. As you can see, the egg is soft boiled but not as marinated as the usual hanjuku eggs.
If you ask me if there’s a “similar” outlet in KL, I would say it’s Santouka Ramen just for the noodles alone. Hokkaido Ramen in 1 Utama Isetan Eat Paradise and Yamagoya Ramen noodles are slightly more “springy”. The noodles here are the thin, soft type, certainly not like Menya Musashi which is chewy and thick. Gokuraku Ramen and Ikuzo Ramen? Don’t even compare.
Note: Almost similar yeah, NOT completely similar! 

Broth-wise? This was so tasty and balanced while all the ramen shops in KL serves such salty soups! None of the KL ones came close to this.

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -018

To read more about their broth, specially made noodles and even the red chilli sauce – hop over to http://www.ichiran.co.jp/english/html/oshinagaki.html/.

Meanwhile, I’m going out to hunt for more ramen since I have a few more days here in Osaka! 🙂

iCHIRAN RAMEN - UENO STATION -022

Category : Food, Japan, Travel