Hong Kong : Ichiran, Tsim Sha Tsui
Ichiran, definitely one of my favorite ramen store. Never have I tried a ramen shop this great before. From taste, to presentation, to creativity, this restaurant hits all the marks!
Let me start off with the design of the place. When you enter, you are given a choice of seating: a regular table or an individual bar resembling an exam room. We went ahead to the individual bars. In the ‘Examination Room”, they prioritise on the concept “Concentrate on the Flavor”.
The design of these bars, as mentioned briefly above, are individual seats with walls on both the customer’s sides, a personal water station, and a screen in front of the customer. This screen is left open to enable the customer to hand over the ‘exam sheet’, or your order of noodles, to the ‘instructor’, also known as the waiter. Adding on to the exam style were an ordering paper with multiple choices of the ramen's toppings.
The base price is HKD 89, which gives you the options of: Soup flavor strength, oil richness, garlic, green onions, sliced pork, chili sauce, and noodle texture. Some options give extra quantities, but at a slight extra price. I went for the medium soup, rich oil, 1 clove +2 extra garlic clove (+HKD 12), sliced pork, 1 chili, and medium texture noodles. The waiting time for the ramen is around 5 minutes, which is not very long especially considering the large amount of customers most of the time. Then, the ramen is served, and the screen in front is closed, giving the customer an uninterrupted experience.
Taste wise, it was absolutely the best ramen I've ever had. But before I describe the ramen, I would like to mention the shop's "original water". The water is treated thorough "our own special system of pipes and purifiers." The water they have is very pure and fresh, and the coldness of it compliments the heat of the ramen. That in itself is a great meal, and I would recommend everyone to this place just to try their water!
Now, for the main part of the review, the ramen. The soup was amazing! The stock and the garlic, combined with their chili paste is an amazing combination! The garlic hits like a truck even before you taste the soup. For the tonkotsu soup, it is very rich and flavourful. The oil that comes with the ramen further intensifies the richness of the soup. As for the noodles, I ordered the medium textured one. Not too soft, buy yet not too firm.Along with the pork, this is an absolutely perfect recipe. You also have another option called ‘Kae-Dama’, or Noodle Refill, which is essentially an extra serving of ramen noodles.
To keep it simple, I absolutely recommend this shop. The combination of the atmosphere, the flavour, and their service is absolutely outstanding. Definitely a must- eat for everyone visiting HongKong.
Ichiran, Tsim Sha Tsui
Entrance Hall on G/F & Shop B, Basement Floor, 8 Minden Avenue
Opening Hours: 24 Hours
Reviewed by Siwakorn Lieogagyasuwan (MEK)