Ichiran 天然豚骨拉麵專門店一蘭


As a ramen lover, I have heard all about the opening of Ichiran in HK but as someone who is averse to lining up, I kept postponing my visit until now - in hopes that the lines have died down a bit. There was still quite a line on the outside of the shop when I arrived around noon with about a dozen or so people in front of me. It wasn't until I got to into the restaurant that I realize the lines continued on the inside so don't be fooled by just the line outside the shop. I actually got to skip to the front of line as I was dining alone so my wait was only about 15 minutes or so - not too shabby. I was then led to my own little cubicle with instructions from the waiter to ring the service bell after completing my order form. The waiter spoke in bits of Japanese, and then proceeded to bow before leaving me to ponder my order. Service here on a whole was excellent and I felt like I was in Japan again. 

The form was easy enough to fill out and there were instructions for first timers as well. 
The choices for customizing your ramen were more here compared to other ramen shops - as you can tailor for flavor strength, richness, garlic, green onion, sliced pork, Ichiran's original red sauce and noodle's texture. As recommended by the restaurant, I picked medium or regular for most of my preference as it was my first time here. I also added an order of half-boiled salted egg as well for $12. After I rang the service bell at my cube, a waiter came by shortly to pick up my order sheet. 
Order Form
My ramen did not take long to arrive and the presentation looked gorgeous. The colors of the black and gold bowl contrasted nicely with the color of the broth and the arrangements of the green onions and the red sauce. 

After my ramen arrived, they closed my shades for me so I can eat in complete privacy. How cute!

I made sure to taste the original soup before mixing the spicy sauce. The broth was rich and flavorful, yet the texture was not too thick so that it was hard to drink. It helped that the broth was quite hot in temperature which prevented the oil from thickening. After mixing the spicy sauce, the broth tasted even better as another dimension was added to the flavors. It was a broth I could not stop drinking. Slurp slurp!  

The basic ramen only came with sliced pork and green onions. I had to fish around and came up with 2 small pieces of sliced pork. The pork was soft and buttery in texture as the ratio of fat to lean meat was just right. The taste is natural and sweet. Just wished there were more!

My half-oiled egg had arrived separately in a bowl and it arrived as a whole egg. After I cut into it with my chopsticks, I found that the egg was cooked perfectly so the yolk inside was still a bit raw. As I bite into it, I was shocked to find that the egg is cold cold unlike other shops where it's rather lukewarm/neutral in temperature. Actually I found it refreshing to have a cold egg contrast with my hot ramen. 
The thickness and the texture of the noodles were just right for my liking. The portions of noodles were rather small though - even for me. I had quickly gone through my noodles before I realized they were all gone. Maybe that's why there are all these noodle refill signs in the cubicle encouraging you to order a kae-dama (noodle refill). 

My quest to try Ichiran was finally accomplished and my tummy was satisfied! The ramen at Ichiran's was definitely exceptional and one of the better ones in HK. After I reported my findings to J, he asked me if I thought Ichiran is the best in HK. At that I had to ponder a bit - it's definitely on par with Butao which is my favorite and the seating is more comfortable at Ichiran's (though you're really just sitting by yourself haha). The choice of ramen at Butao and many other places are more varied though with spinach and octopus broth while Ichiran only has one type of broth to offer. The incentive to go back to Ichiran is therefore lower while I would go back to try other flavors at Butao.

Shop H & I, Ground Floor, Lockhart House, Block A, 440 Jaffe Road,Causeway Bay 
2152 4040

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