Confession time. I’m no fan of ramen, pasta or any form of noodles that’s not Chinese. In my mind, there’s nothing like Chinese mee. It’s something I miss dearly whenever I travel, except for perhaps Southeast and East Asian countries.
During my trip to Japan last December, one of my family’s biggest concern was my meals. I’ve got a Chinese mouth and prefer Chinese food for my main courses. I can do with the occasional Western or fast food, or even Southeast Asian food, but shockingly for most, I haven’t quite picked up a taste for Japanese.
On the other hand, my family loves Japanese food. Being considerate to my preferences, they usually go for a good Japanese meal only when I’m away.
Back to my Japan trip. I was persuaded to try ramen for the first time in my life. Confession time again — I was hooked! The ramen is soooooooo good! In fact, it was so good that we went there three times in under a week.
I’m talking about Ichiran Ramen. Everything about it is so good — the soup, the ramen and even the experience.
The pork-bone soup is rich, tasty and skimmed to perfection. The ramen is springy and gives a good bite feel — cooked according to the customer’s preference. I opted for medium. The bowl is topped by a few slices of pork. Add a couple of teaspoons of powdered chilli and the meal is simply delicious.
Those who prefer more ingredients can choose to add an egg or more meat.
And the experience, wow, it’s quite something. Admittedly, we went during dinner time and there was a queue each time we arrived. Thankfully, the staff was efficient and we managed to get in in under 30 minutes each time! Order and payment was done via a vending machine.
You can choose to eat individually — bar-stool counter style with a separator between diners — or as a group in traditional round or rectangular tables.
The outlets we went to in Osaka were open 24 hours a day. Imagine my delight when I discovered that there was an outlet in Taipei while I was there last week.
Without thinking twice, I headed to No. 97號, Songren Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110 for lunch. Like in Osaka, there was a queue. And similarly, the queue moved fast and we were in in under 15 minutes.
While some reviewers have said that the Taipei version is not as good, I did not notice any difference. It tasted the same as the ones I had in Osaka.
While Ichiran Ramen has made me a convert, my daughter was quick to point out that not all ramen taste the same. Her advice is all I need. I did try one ramen when I came back to Singapore and that experience only proved how correct she was.
That settled it. Ichiran Ramen is the only ramen for me. And for now, it’s either Taipei or Japan for my next fix.