Ichiran Ramen in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan - WTF Review

Ladies and gentlemen, the king of ramen! Ichiran Ramen!
My very first out-of-the-country review! I'm in Japan and there's nothing more Japanese than ramen right? And I've heard that there's one ramen chain here that can beat my number 1, Hanamaruken.

Ichiran Ramen - Originally called  Futaba Ramen, is the most famous and popular ramen store in Japan, serving the classic Tonkotsu ramen (rich creamy soup made from pork broth) from Fukuoka Prefecture.

It was a cold winter night in Japan when I arrived in front of the infamous Ichiran Ramen, it is a perfect condition to soup a big nice bowl of goodness.
Ichiran Ramen, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
As expected, there's a long line of people craving for a hot bowl of ramen goodness that night - we waited for at least 15 minutes before being presented to their unusual but awesome way of taking orders.
Ichiran Ramen's vending machine
Japanese are just taking the term "convenience" to the next level - a ramen vending machine. So they've eliminated the use of an actual person to take orders and presented a DIY way to completely automate your orders.

I ordered the traditional Original Ichiran Ramen (JPY890 / PHP435) and their Ichiran Select 5 (JPY1,490 / PHP728) - they also have desserts and take-out as well!
4 steps to awesomeness!
It may look intimidating at first but you just need to be confident in how to operate this simple machine, besides, there's a graphical instruction just beside it. Can't read Japanese? No worries, they got it translated to Korean, Chinese and English!
Your very own ramen cubicle.
This is what I like about Ichiran - privacy. It's not a typical table and chair restaurant, instead, you'll have your own private space, call it a cubicle if you like. The queue was chaotic, mainly because of the cold weather just inviting people to go grab ramen and with all the chaos happening all around, I am here, sitting down in my very own private space, leaving the chaos and stress behind.
Let's talk about the order sheet - it's pretty self-explanatory and they even provided recommendations for the optimal ramen experience. I like what they did here as diners will be able to personalize their ramen which makes them more engaged and involved in creating their masterpiece.
Oh! They also have a handy drinking water faucet in your cubicle! Talk about accessibility!
Now, on to the good stuff!
Original Ichiran Ramen (JPY890 / PHP435)
Happiness right in front of me.
Unadulterated, raw, Original Ichiran Ramen (JPY890 / PHP435) - it's a sight for sore eyes! It's cold, I'm famished, I'm ready slurp! The presentation is perfect - the char siu, the beautiful slab of chili powder and scallions are placed strategically to create a wonderful oasis of goodness. Oh and by the way, your bowl will come from the window and once served, they will put the drapes down for you to enjoy your ramen.
Ichiran Ramen, finally!
The broth is very rich, porky, creamy and also has that gelatinous feel on it! The noodle they use is hakata which is my favorite type of noodle especially in ramen, they are thin and can easily hold the flavor of the broth within itself.
Glorious char siu!
The char siu is thin compared to the ramen I've had before but it is ridiculously flavorful! The perfect proportion of meat and fat provided that scrumptious, savory flavor to it. It's a little bit chewy but it is flavored so well that you'll end up chewing more.
Ichiran Select 5 (JPY1,490 / PHP728)
I ended up getting a kae-dama which means a noodle refill since I still have a lot of broth. The Ichiran Select 5 (JPY1,490 / PHP728) is the same as the Original Ichiran Ramen with the inclusion of mushrooms, egg, garlic, nori and char siu. My only tip for you is to mix everything and don't leave anything behind as all of the sides will orchestrate to each other creating a perfect symphony of flavor.
Take Ichiran Ramen home with you.
They have different variations of their take away - you just need to ask the servers if you have any questions.
Even Kirby approves!
Overall, it is way better than Hanamaruken - the broth is delicate, out of this world, addictive. Its fatty, porky and rich broth complement everything in the bowl. I can eat this all day, like nothing else. This ramen experience is life-changing and I was still in shocked that this ramen is that good and it's crazy that it is customizable which opens more combination of flavor. The greatest ramen I've ever tasted in my life.
  • Food
    • Beyond amazing - hands down, it's way far from the ramen I used to love.
  • Place 
    • You have your private cubicle complete with drinking water faucet, spacious dining area, condiments, coat/umbrella holder and even a space for your bag. Most importantly, privacy.
  • Service 
    • The staff is polite, approachable and joyful.
  • Price 
    • Cheaper than Ippudo and Hanamaruken with much better taste and quality.
Let's rate them, shall we?
Food: 5/5
Ambiance: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
OVERALL: 5/5
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Location: Japan, 〒160-0021 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Kabukicho, 1 Chome−17−10 CR.B&Vビル 地下 1 階
Operating Hours: 24 Hours
Contact Number: +81 3 6233 7667