Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Japanese Ramen

I finally had a chance to taste authentic Japanese Ramen after a 10 year break! Although ramen is available at Japanese restaurants here, but most of the time, the taste simply couldn't meet those in Japan.

As recommended by a travel guide book, we had ramen at this interesting restaurant, Ichiran.

We liked the ramen so much that we went back to the same place three times during our 1-week trip in Tokyo recently. This restaurant is very popular as there's always a queue outside the outlet.

At many small eateries in Tokyo, you will need to purchase meal coupons from vending machines usually located just outside the restaurants. The staff will then collect the tickets from you and your meals will be served shortly. I thought this is really a very efficient method to run an eatery, as you don't need manpower to take orders and payment. Here's an example of a vending machine:

Examples of meal coupons:

It was indeed a "fun" dinning experience for us when we first went to Ichiran. After spending a few minutes figuring out how to use the vending machine, we bought our meal tickets and waited for empty seats. There's an electronic signboard which will indicate where the empty seats are located once the previous diners have left.

Inside the restaurant, each seat was divided into a small cubicle... with dividing boards separating each diner. There were only 2 tables which could seat four persons together. The rest were all cubicles.

There was a curtain in each seat which would separate you from the staff, so that you could enjoy your ramen in complete privacy! The staff would only lower the bamboo curtain when your ramen was served.

Once we settled down to our small cubical like seats, we got to fill up an order sheet to personalise how we wanted our ramen to be done. We could choose whether to have a stronger flavour of the soup, the tenderness of the noodles, whether to add spring onions, etc.

When we were done with the order sheet, we have to place it together with the meal coupons on the table and press the red button which was fixed at the front of the table. The staff came promptly to collect our orders.

We didn't have to wait very long before a yummy, pipping hot bowl of ramen was served.

In case you are feeling very hungry (or greedy as in our case), you can purchase a meal coupon to have additional noodles added. The interesting thing is, the additional portion will not be added to the bowl of ramen right away. You will be given a metal plate when you give the staff your coupon for the additional portion. When you are ready for the additional noodles, you got to put the metal plate on the button in front of the table. A ring tone will buzz, and one of the staff will come to collect the plate. Shortly, the staff will come with a bowl of noodles (without the soup) for you to top up your bowl. Thus, the trick is to make sure you don't finish up your soup before you order for your additional noodles. I only managed to figure out the entire ordering system after my second visit!

By the way, the kids love the tune of the ring tone (do re mi, mi re do, do re mi re do re) and have been singing it through out our trip! I was pleased to hear the ring tone myself as I first heard it while watching a VCD of Chibi Maroko-chan, one of my many favourite cartoon characters :)

The tenderness of the noodles was just perfect and the soup was really delicious!

We have yet to find out what the Japenese words meant inside the empty bowl. Will probably do so, if I have the chance to visit Tokyo again :p


Anonymous said...


It translates.

”Mmm,This last one drop pleasure.”


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, thanks for the translation! Now I understand, I really enjoyed the ramen till the very last drop :)

Anonymous said...

I like ramen too but have not had a bowl that it's really satisfying. Sounds like you had an interesting trip, look forward to read more about it? Most imptly, any new bakeware to show? :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Elyn, I didn't have much time to shop for bakeware...I didn't even have time to go to the Sanrio shops :,(
Most of my time was spent at toy shops, electronic stores and game centres as I was travelling with 4 boys!!

Anne said...

No wonder you were missing in action ;P ...it's good to know you had a wonderful time... I missed reading your post :)

Mandy said...

wow, sounds like a fun trip! You really make me crave for ramen now! Thanks for sharing your tokyo ramen experience! Will there be more stories to come?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Mandy, you like ramen too?! I'll love to share all the fun moments we had during our trip...but will only post those related to food here :) coming up next will be on okonomiyaki =)

Hi Anne, yes I missed my baking session...but I am still recovering from my trip...my legs are aching all over due to the walkings. Hope I can start baking before end of the week ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh! I love Japanese Ramen! Too few good Ramen here in Singapore. I've been telling my kids abt the coupon vending machine at these Ramen eateries in Japan. Now I can show them yr blog & let them hv a better picture of it. Thanks, for sharing!


dl said...

i absolutely adore ichiran ramen and looking at your this post gives me this urge to take a flight to tokyo now!!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Danlyne, now you make me crave for ichiran ramen!!! I have yet to eat anything that comes close to ichiran ramen here :(

Anonymous said...

I visit your blog regularly. Loved all the beautiful creations.
I love Chibi Maruko-chan too!!


The image I gather from this phrase and the presentation of the ramen:
"Each drop is a greatest pleasure."

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, thanks for your kind comments :) I have guess that is means every drop is delicious and eaten with pleasure :)