I came across this flaming ramen house in my Facebook news feed. It was suggested to me by tripadvisor.com. I don’t know how it showed up in my feed but maybe it’s because my Facebook automatically detected my location that time, which was Kyoto. I ignored it, at first, as it wasn’t in my to do list until it showed up again. I initially planned that, if ever I’ll eat ramen, I’ll eat at Ichiran Ramen, a chain of Japanese ramen houses that has single cubicles so diners can really concentrate and appreciate solely the ramen solely while eating (another must try by the way while you’re in Japan).
It wasn’t until around 3pm, after my Golden Pavillion sightseeing, that I decided to pay a visit to this one of a kind ramen house. I arrived around 4pm at the ramen house. Keeping in mind that they’ll open at 6pm, I went to Nijo Castle to stroll. Unbeknownst to me, you actually need to get a priority number to dine in the ramen house. That, and because I neglected to read the sign that said so.
When I got back, there was a couple who were in queue already and they told me that I should get a priority number. I was saddened especially since the priority number I got was #23.😡😡 I just prayed that hopefully those people whose priority numbers were before mine wouldn’t show up until way after the restaurant opens.
As luck would have it, the restaurant opened at exactly 6pm and there were only five of us. Luckily, I am one of those customers who were catered first. The restaurant was packed with tourists outside already after I had my dinner. Ahahahaha. *grin. Well, I waited for almost two hours for this so I guess the heavens were on my side.
This ramen house caters up to 12 customers at a time. That is how intimate your ramen experience will be. Until then, all other customers should wait outside and get their priority number. They do not accept reservation.
Upon entering, you will be greeted by the chef himself and his staff of two. You will then be assisted to your assigned seats. Once you are seated, they will provide you with the necessary instructions, rules and what to expect in this flaming ramen experience. After which they will give you an apron for protection. For women with long hair, they will give you a rubber band/ scrunchie for free to tie your hair. After which they will ask to have your camera phones for them to video your experience. They have a phone stand just across the table far enough not to get caught by the fire but close enough to document your experience.
Then the show begins! They start off by covering the bowl with oil then filling your ramen bowl with noodles, roasted meat and soup then placed in a heaping amount of Kyoto’s special spring onions. It is said that these spring onions are only grown in Kyoto and are essential for the ramen be on fire (maybe because of a chemical change that will happen when a hot oil is poured but I’m not sure). Then the chef prepares the hot oil and pours it over your ramen. And bam! This ramen is on fireeee!! This ramen is on fireeee!!! (with Alicia Keys’s “This Girl is on Fire” in mind). Hahaha! Lol! 😂😂
After the ramen was set on fire, we were immediately given a pair of chopsticks and a spoon. Included in my ramen were five pieces of gyoza and fried rice. Both the gyoza and fried rice were quite good. While eating, the chef interacted with his diners. He also took some photos of us while we were eating the ramen . Here’s my take: 😝
The ramen taste? It was dangerously good. It’s not like most ramen that I tasted here in the Philippines which are salty and too oily/fatty for my taste. Though taste differs from person to person, this one was definitely to my liking since they are using chicken and fish broth for their soup which I find light and full of flavor. The famous spring onions add flavor and aroma to the ramen, too.😋😋
My last thought, as per the chef’s motto: “No Ramen, No Life.”
Name of Ramen House: Menbakaichidai Fire Ramen House
Location: 757-2 Minami Iseyacho, Kamigyo-Ku, Kyoto 602-8153, Kyoto Prefecture (a 10 minute walk from Nijo Castle. You may use google map to locate this establishment, that’s what I did.)