After trying Ichiran in Hong Kong and other countries, there is definitely a need to try the ramen in their original country Japan. In fact, Fukuoka is the main city that started the first store so when we are in Fukuoka, we definitely need to have a meal there. The outlet we visited is just behind our hotel by 5 mins walk and is the 5th outlet opened by the group.
Right at the entrance, you will find the ticket machines where you can put in your orders. Everything is in Japanese so you can order based on pictures or if you need an English or Chinese menu, you can ask the staff for help
They also sell their instant ramen at the door step at ¥2,000 each. You will find this in major supermarkets or the airport as well
After purchasing your tickets, there is a small lobby where you can see if there are available seats. If there aren’t any seats, you can wait here at the benches. There are 2 floors in this outlet where the first floor has empty spaces indicated by the blue lights. When you walk towards the entrance with the curtains, a staff will come over and assist you by letting you know which is your seat
All seats are individual booth style where each diner gets their own private booth and a space on the wall to hang their jackets and personal belongings
The booth is fairly simple with instructions pasted at the side on how to order additional dishes or call for service. Most of it is in Japanese but the staff is can speak rather well in English.
You will be handed these paper menu and you can let the staff know that you need the one with English instructions. This paper menu will let you customise your noodles with onions, garlic, richness of soup, softness of noodles as well as spicy level. You can hand this back to the staff through the opening at the booth
You will be served your food through the opening and once it is done, the staff will close the opening with a blind
Anytime you need attention, you can press on the button to get help. There is also a tap where you can serve yourself ice water
The extra egg I ordered came in a small bowl with salt, instead of the usual onsen egg, it was more of a hard boiled egg which can be eaten by dipping in salt
I ordered additional black fungus which I added to my noodles. I had customised my soup to be rich and it is extremely thick and flavourful. It is definitely much better than the one I had in Hong Kong. The soup taste great and you can tell the effort and hours put into boiling the broth. The noodles were also springy and chewy which was perfect with the soup
I ordered an additional braised pork belly with spring onions which was soft and thoroughly braised with flavours from the soy sauce. Each piece of meat was soft to the bite and full of umami flavours. When added to the noodles, it was a great complement
Overall, I think the long queues for Ichiran is really justified as the soup base is really good but this only applies to the outlets in Japan.
Address: 1 Chome-3-23 Uomachi, Kokurakita Ward, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka 802-0006, Japan
Operating hours: 24 hours