Alone With Your Ramen

Discussion in 'Food & Wine' started by Synthaholic, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Synthaholic
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    Synthaholic Platinum Member

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    Alone With Your Ramen



    [​IMG]


    My acupuncturist in Nagoya is from Fukuoka, and Fukuoka folks are passionate about their ramen. When I asked where I should go to get Fukuoka ramen in Nagoya, he replied “Fukuoka.” When pressed, he said, “there is a place, downtown, that comes close. It’s a chain, but it’s good. It does express our passion. There are dividers.” Dividers? “So you are completely alone with your ramen.”



    When you open the sliding door to Ichiran, you are greeted by a vending machine. This is common in Japanese ramen shops–a vending machine selling tickets for your choice of ramen, side dishes if there are any, and drinks. No one at the shop handles money. I used to think this signaled “bad quality” but actually it is quite the opposite. Got my ticket, and I enter a long narrow corridor. There is a single counter with dividers.
    [​IMG]


    Each cubicle is like a cockpit, everything within reach. To the left is a spout for my water. Right above it are cups. Chopsticks, to my right. There is a small devise that serves two purposes: 1. to call for help 2. detonates a loud trumpet tune called Charumera when I place a small plate on it, announcing that I want extra noodles. Business cards to my left. Above is a shelf for your bags. Behind you is a hook for your jacket and umbrella, and a box of tissues to catch the snot that inevitably oozes out as you consume hot soup. The stools are bolted to the floor predetermining the distance between you and the ramen. It’s close. You can’t really be any taller than 5’5″. There is a slip of paper with a red pen (which is attached to a chain). It looks like a test. There are multiple choice answers to circle. Do I want: 1. no garlic 2. some garlic 3. a lot of garlic; 1. small noodle portion 2. medium 3. extra; Egg, no egg; how spicy; how rich the soup?


    Before me, a mini bamboo blind is up. The opening is about the size of a small TV and I only see the lower torso of workers running around. Someone approaches. When she bows, I catch a glance of her face, but otherwise, the opening shows her middle. She takes my ticket and the slip of paper. She lowers the blind. Suddenly I am alone, in my cubicle, contemplating the arrival of this ramen. The only sounds I hear are aggressive slurping of noodles, sniffling, and the deafening Charumera. The ramen makers in their mobile carts used to blow this tune back in the day to notify the neighborhood that he’s arrived. This seems to blare every few minutes letting all of us know that someone is ordering more noodle. There is no conversation.

    [​IMG]


    *snip*


    [​IMG]


    My blinds open. A beautiful bowl appears, presented by a pair of delicate hands. She bows again, tells me to enjoy my ramen, and closes the blinds. It smells delicious.



    *snip*


    More at the LINK.
     
  2. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    Hey...that may be me, second pic, way down at the end!
     
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  3. Missourian
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    Missourian Gold Member

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    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
  4. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    You mean there is Ramen besides the dry cubes I get at the store?
     
  5. koshergrl
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    koshergrl Diamond Member

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    I was completely there until the oozing snot.

    I like ramen...I think I've probably had good ramen, but it was a long time ago and the place no longer has it....I dig the whole concept...

    But I don't like the idea of following oozing snotters into an eating cubicle...
     
  6. Missourian
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    Missourian Gold Member

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    [​IMG]



    This is all your fault Synth. ^
     
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    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
  7. Mad Scientist
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    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I lived in Japan for 9 years and consider my self a "connoisseur" of ramen, my favorite being "Chashu-men".

    The dividers serve two purposes:
    1. Prevent you from being slobbered on by the guy next to you slurping up his noodles with a suction that only a gay porn star would admire.
    2. Prevents cross-talk with anyone thus ensuring that you finish eating quicker and get your ass out so another paying customer can take your place.

    All other explanations are happy-talk bullshit (Something the Japanese are experts at)

    Did You Know?: Next time you eat a bowl of Ramen in Japan (I've never tried this at US ramen shops) just eat the noodles and leave the soup there. When all the noodles are gone hold up your bowl or just raise your hand and say (loudly) "Okawari Kudasai!" which basically means "Can I have another serving?" If they nod and say "Hai", then put a 100 yen coin on the counter and enjoy another serving of noodles!

    Authentic Japanese Ramen kicks the crap out of that cheap ass "Cup O' Noodles" salty garbage anytime.
     
  8. Synthaholic
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    Synthaholic Platinum Member

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    I like ramen. I like kimchi (especially cucumber kimchi). But I've never had that before - is it any good?
     
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  9. Missourian
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    Missourian Gold Member

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    I love the stuff [​IMG] , Nong Shim Hot & Spicy Soup is also quite good.
     
  10. pgm
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    pgm Member

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    I do like Ichi-ran. I had a bowl in Hakata (Fukuoka). They let you customize your bowl a bit (such as lots of pork fat or ridiculous heart-stoppingly good amounts of pork fat?).

    My own picture didn't come out as nice as the one in the original post (since I took it right on top of the bowl):
    [​IMG]

    Maybe you get the idea.

    Anyway, here's my favorite ramen from Tokyo. This one had fish/soy sauce-based broth instead of pork bone.

    [​IMG]

    Those are wanton noodles.

    This place was not done with a vending machine. There was a line out front and a guy brought out a menu and a cup of water for the hot, tired, hungry people waiting. I'm surprised they got my order right.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011

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