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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Ichiran Ramen 一蘭ラメん (Nakasu head shop & office 本社総本店)

Visited 15.03.2014


I have not developed to become a ramen lover despite being to Japan multiple times over the past few years. Personally, I find the soup too salty for my liking on most occasions. However, this trip to Kyushu changed my impression of ramen totally. Hakata is famous for ramen and there are many established brands to choose from. So far, Ichiran Ramen is one of the few that conquered my taste buds. 

Unique dining experience. Headed down to Ichiran Ramen for our first meal in Kyushu. Came the flagship store near Nakasu Kawabata subway station. Purchased a meal coupon at the automated ticket machine and joined the queue. While waiting, the staff passed us a piece of paper (available in English as well) each to indicate our preferred bowl of ramen, such as soup richness and flavour, texture of noodles, addition of Ichiran's original spicy sauce, condiments such as garlic and green onions. Tables here are all counter seats but each seat is separated by dividers thus creating a private space for every customer. Once seated, both meal coupon and paper were passed to the staff through a small window in front of the table. After my customised bowl of ramen was delivered through the window, the staff pulled down the window blind as a gesture that meal order has been completed.



Not sure whether it was due to the fact that this bowl of ramen was prepared based on my preference, the first bite of the noodles and sip of the soup hit the right spot instantaneously! Pork based broth was rich in collagen, very smooth and flavourful, to the point that I drank up the entire bowl. Personally, I preferred the thinner noodles that were served here too - cooked to the right texture I wanted. Every mouthful is packed with unami and it took less than 10 minutes to gobble down this satisfying bowl of ramen. In the end, I bought a few packets of noodles at Fukuoka Airport, hoping to revive this wholesome taste back at home. To my dismay, it still doesn't taste as good as my first encounter with Ichiran Ramen.

Back at home, I find Ippudo Ramen, another famous brand which originated from Hakata, quite similar to Ichiran Ramen in terms of taste - pork based broth and thin noodles. Therefore, I patronise Ippudo occasionally when the cravings for ramen set in. Though subconsciously, I still find Ichiran Ramen better. Hope to witness the day when Ichiran Ramen comes to Singapore! 

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Ichiran Ramen 一蘭ラメん (Nakasu head shop & office 本社総本店)
〒810-0801 福岡県福岡市博多区中洲5-3-2

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