Multiple locations throughout Japan
While Rokurinsha was hands down AMAZING beyond words, it didn’t quite satisfying my ramen craving. I still yearned for hot noodles bouncing about in an ocean of opaque fatty flavor rich broth. Chuka Soba Inoue obviously did not satisfy me to this degree, though I was quite full from the gyudon at Kitsuneya too. Around 3pm I felt it was time to squeeze in a snack. I wasn’t hungry really, but there was no other time I would be able try the famous ramen at Ichiran. I wasn’t sure how great it would really be since I tried their instant packaged ramen, which Triple F brought back from her visit a few years ago. It wasn’t that good. It was heavy but not that flavorful and their noodles were skinny and limp.
Even at 3pm there was a line! We were told the wait would be 50 minutes. Unbelievable! We had nothing more important to do so we decided to wait. I think the Japanese must be bad at estimating time, or they purposely overestimate to scare away customers. The wait was only like 15-20 minutes.
I was not as intimidated by the vending machine ordering system this time.
Ichiran caters to the solo diners who just want a quickie meal. It’s all bar seating with adjustable dividers. You don’t have to talk to anyone, not even your server.
Ichiran allows you to customize your bowl further. You can choose the flavor and richness level, as well as the noodle texture. You can add garlic, green onions, and chashu. Since we weren’t that hungry we decided to share 1 bowl between the 2 of us. We went for full flavor and fat and just firm noodles.
Tonkotsu Ramen full strength, ultra rich, 1 garlic, green onions, chashu, 1/2 spicy, firm noodles
It certainly looked the part of the perfect bowl of tonkotsu ramen. Milky opaque broth with a generous slick fat layer floating atop. Chashu perched atop a mound of noodles just peaking out from below. A generous handful of green onions. I’ve been fooled before. So many before have claimed to be the “best ramen,” but the title has always stayed with Santouka. Ichiran has arrived and wrestled the title away. Maybe wrestle is an exaggeration. There is no debate here. All I can say is WOW. That’s just what immediately crossed my mind as I took my first slurp of that sultry milky spoonful of tonkotsu broth. Seriously to die for! I have never tasted a broth like that before. It was rich in deep umami flavor that can only be had from boiling pork bones for hours and hours or perhaps some MSG. Either way, the taste is indescribably spectacular. The extra raw garlic was subtle but greatly enhanced the flavor. I never thought about adding raw garlic to ramen until recently, but it is a must! YUUUUUUUUMMMMSSS!!!
Tonkotsu Ramen egg, seaweed, medium flavor, rich, 1 garlic, green onions, chashu, 1 spicy, extra firm noodles
I had to come back on another day because technically I just shared one bowl between The Annoyer and me. I wanted to enjoy my own bowl. I didn’t think the ramen could get any better, but I just wanted to experiment and see if taking down the flavor and fat down a notch would still result in an equally awesome bowl of noodles. I can say that it was still a fantastic bowl of noodles. It didn’t quite pack the same flavor punch, but I definitely appreciated the full spice level. I wouldn’t even call it spicy. It just adds some lingering heat to each bite, which I really liked.
The Annoyer paid a little extra for kae-dama, which is an extra serving of noodles. One bowl was more than enough for me.
This is hands down THE BEST RAMEN OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. You MUST eat at Ichiran.
10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here