As a ramen lover, I have heard all about the opening of Ichiran in HK but as someone who is averse to lining up, I kept postponing my visit until now - in hopes that the lines have died down a bit. There was still quite a line on the outside of the shop...
I love ramen for its versatility and seemingly infinite possibilities. I peer into a bowl of this noodle soup — sometimes thick and creamy, sometimes close to translucent, sometimes tawny, sometimes edging up on coal-colored and glinting darkly — and can’t begin to tell exactly what’s in there. Every restaurant’s ramen to me is distinct. Even every batch of a single restaurant’s ramen does.
I inhale a ramen’s perfume and I’m still perplexed, still uncertain, though I can identify a few top notes: almost definitely scallions, very possibly garlic, in a perfect world some spicy chilli. I can make out the concentrated pork bone essence of the soup. With my spoon I delve into the bowl of ramen and gulp down a mouthful, but a few components remain unknown. A few subtle differences, too. The taste of ramen isn’t just intricate and layered; it’s almost blurry, but a good blurry, an enthralling blurry, the kind of blurry in which gluttonous eaters gratifyingly indulge in.
At ICHIRAN, which is where many of the most dedicated ramen fans carry out their devotion, I would sometimes look up from my noodle soup and realize that I hadn’t conversed with my companions for a quite a while, and had in fact forgotten that they came with me. With ramen like ICHIRAN’s at its best, who needs conversation? For that matter, who needs company?
As a result the wait can stretch to more than a two to three hours unless you go there in the wee hours on weekdays. The waiting is quite tiresome so in the end there are obstacles to the ramen bliss here. There are challenges and compromises that you have to edit out of the ICHIRAN experience.
I appreciated ICHIRAN’s springy, slim house-made noodles, which accomplish the art of having delicacy and presence at the same time. I loved the unctuous and cream-colored broth of the tonkotsu ramen — with its slices of thinly sliced pork and its hints of garlic and its grassy whispers of scallion. The broth is thick, almost milky and altogether sublime.
An engrossing meal at that. You search slowly for noodles with your chopsticks, whirling and sipping the minutes away. Then you swap the chopsticks for a spoon, to see what else is left: some seaweed, some black fungus, some last bits of noodles. As the ramen gradually unveils itself, you fall unreservedly to its spell.
ICHIRAN Ramen - Extra scallion. Always extra scallion.
ICHIRAN Ramen - Extra scallion. Always extra scallion....
On a lighter note, don't forget to get the tofu dessert. It has an amazingly spongy and pudding-like texture that does not break up easily like the regular tofu.
I love ramen for its versatility and seemingly infinite possibilities. I peer into a bowl of this noodle soup — sometimes thick and creamy, sometimes close to translucent, sometimes tawny, sometimes edging up on coal-colored and glinting darkly — and can’t begin to tell exactly what’s in there. Every restaurant’s ramen to me is distinct. Even every batch of a single restaurant’s ramen does. I inhale a ramen’s perfume and I’m still perplexed, still uncertain, though I can identif...
There are many famous ramen restaurants in Causeway Bay area, but this one can proudly say that is has the biggest queue, no matter the time of the day/night. Good thing, it's open 24h, so you're sure to get a seat if you survive the hunger. Honkie Noddy and I were trying to kill time in the queue talking in French about other people in line. Chi sin, what an embarrassement when we found out the dude next to us could also speak French!!! Lesson learned: never speak in the back of people waiting with you in the queue
Anyways, back to the restaurant! This is the ultimate "robotic Japanese experience", couples beware, it won't be a romantic date!!! After surviving the queue, you get into your cubicule to receive your food order. While I appreciate the concept and authenticity, it is way too anti-social for me to enjoy a dinning experience. Looking in the eyes is important for to me, I usually stop talking to someone if they don't look at me in the eyes... so this is definitely not my type of venue to socialise. Nevertheless, the ingredients, soup and noodles are delicious! The broth is slightly sweet and thick, and you can choose your the level of spiciness. The restaurant suggests to eat it very traditionally, eat the full content and afterwards ask for additional stuff. All you got to do is press on the button and drop the paper in a box, and more food will come your way!
Gwailo Guillaume: While I think the food was great, I don't think I'd wait another time in the near future. Mostly because of the cubicule aspect and the anti-socialness of the restaurant. I would strongly recommend the place for couples who just got into a fight and don't want to talk/see each other for a couple of minutes! Or for a quick lunch alone on a workday/night. Anyways, I'm glad I tried and you should give it a shot too
「久仰大名」，是日見排隊人龍唔算太多(前面位師兄話「只係」50幾個人等緊)就諗住試下，點之由龍尾一路等到坐低喺位都要成個半鐘！Anyway，同所有拉麵店大同少異，呢度都係用「order紙」去選麵既硬度、湯既濃度、醬汁濃度等等。餐廳方面可以話同日本跟得好足，無論座位同埋裝修都大同小異，唯一唔同既係日本總店用黎隔開位同位之間既partition 係可以收埋既，但係香港版就唔可以。Other than that無論叫waiter既bell、傳菜既window，以至佢既竹簾都同日本總店一樣。
「久仰大名」，是日見排隊人龍唔算太多(前面位師兄話「只係」50幾個人等緊)就諗住試下，點之由龍尾一路等到坐低喺位都要成個半鐘！Anyway，同所有拉麵店大同少異，呢度都係用「order紙」去選麵既硬度、湯既濃度、醬汁濃度等等。餐廳方面可以話同日本跟得好足，無論座位同埋裝修都大同小異，唯一唔同既係日本總店用黎隔開位同位之間既partition 係可以收埋既，但係香港版就唔可以。Other than that無論叫waiter既bell、傳菜既window，以至佢既竹簾都同日本總店一樣。食物上菜速度算快，落單不足十分鐘已經有野食！湯底超正，同正宗味...