RAMEN IN A BOX (well technically a "jubako" which is a special Japanese lunch box). It was only by chance that we discovered Ichiran at Canal City Fukuoka. It was not in my "must-try" list but boy was I so happy that we stumpled upon it. It is arguably the BEST RAMEN I've ever had. And this is huge because I have had tried a lot of RAMEN having gone to Osaka twice already and Tokyo too plus ofcourse the myriad ramen spots in Manila.
Ok, ok...Before the ramen fanatics freak out on me, let me explain why and give my argument by breaking everything down;
1. BROTH. The broth is rich but not overpowering. It does not leave you with that heavy oily feeling which I experience with a lot of ramen. You can taste how delicately it's been simmered, strained and degreased therefore giving it a surprisingly clean taste. Sorry for being technical but that's my chef background coming out.
2. KAEDAMA NOODLES REFILL. Their homemade fresh noodles are made from their unique blend of flour which is then cooked in special filtered water which gives it an added flavor. They have a silky and firm texture which I really like. Kaedama is Hakata's way to order extra noodles when you finish your serving and still have broth left. To prevent the noodles from expanding, they made this system where you can order just when you finish your initial noodle serving to make sure the additional noodles remain firm. tip : I always always order mine EXTRA FIRM.
3. SPECIAL RED SAUCE. They have a special red pepper based sauce which is believed to be made up of 30 different spices that have been aged and cooked slowly that they put on the middle of the broth. You gently mix it into the soup when it is served. I usually just order mine mild and not too spicy because I don't want to overpower the taste of the broth.
5. *** OSUKARAN VINEGAR. I believe this is the biggest differentiating factor. The use of this special Osurkaran vinegar makes the world of difference in terms of deepening the flavor of the broth. This option is unique to the Canal City branch. The hint of sourness from the vinegar, so subtle yet adds to much complexity to the flavor. Nothing like I've ever had.
5. EXPERIENCE. The process of enjoying this ramen also adds to greatness of the experience. You order through a machine, get your ticket and go straight into a personal booth. You will not see any face but a small window will open in front of you and you just present your coupon and wait. When ordering your kaedama (extra noodles serving) you also just have to press the button. Because you are locked up on that little booth, you get to really concentrate and focus on your RAMEN and enjoy every slurp!
Convinced already that it's the BEST? Try it out yourself and be the judge. Bookmark this post for your next Fukuoka adventure. You will thank me for it!