What makes Ichiran such a popular choice for dining out is that they only specialize in one kind of ramen called tonkatsu. They make it so well, they got recognized as the world’s best ramen restaurant by Forbes Magazine in 2016.
Ichiran is about 5 minutes on foot from Xiangshan MRT. If you’re coming from Taipei City Hall MRT or Taipei 101 MRT, then it’s about 10 minutes on foot.
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One thing you need to be aware of is the long queue that even continues inside beyond the entrance throughout the day. How long you’ll be waiting before getting served depends on when you go.
We’ve been a few times now, and we found that at peak times, (any day of the week from lunchtime through to late evening), you’re most likely to spend around an hour and a half in the queue. That said, if you’re looking to beat the queue, you’d need to go in the early or late hours of the day.
The outside staff give you an order sheet once you’ve joined the queue, and don’t worry, it’s all in English on one side. Ideally, you can kill some time waiting by filling out your order while you wait.
1. How to order
Ichiran makes your ramen according to your preferences. You can choose from a range of options, such as the richness of the soup to the softness of the noodles. For the first-timer customers, the menu suggests recommendations as dotted circles if anyone wishes to play it safe.
The seating arrangement is unique as they allocate booths through a counter booth seating chart that lights up when one becomes available.
You’re still able to sit beside your friends, you just need to tell the staff so they’ll wait for the seating chart to light up in a row together.
We eventually got seated at our allocated booths to find the blinds were open.
Since we had already filled out the order sheet, we didn’t need to press the red ‘call us’ button since the waiter came overtook it from us.
There are hooks on the booth to hang your bags.
The waiter will close the bamboo curtain while you’re waiting to be served. This is a good time to pour yourself a cup of water and relax.
Additional order sheets and instructions on how to use the ordering system are on the sides of each booth.
2. Focusing on the taste
It wasn’t long at all until they open up the curtain again to serve your ramen. They will lower them down again after serving you your order.
The concept behind the ‘low-interaction dining’ experience is that Ichiran believes it helps people focus on the food. Therefore, it’s perhaps not an ideal place to go for the first date for that matter.
I ordered my tonkatsu soup to be ‘normal’ as I feel it’s rich enough. Since the noodles are pretty thin, I ordered mine to be firm. If you want your ramen with pork, you’ll get two rather thin slices, however, they’re soft and tasteful.
As for the spice, I went for mild as I didn’t want it to overshadow the overall taste of my ramen. The spice has a slight sweetness to it that brought out the full deliciousness of the bowl.
3. Extra Ordering
If you’re up for eating more ramen (we don’t blame you), then there’s always the option for a refill. There is a ‘halfway ring’ on the inside of your bowl which indicates you’re half empty. When you spot it, order the ‘1/2 Noodle refill’ and press the ‘call us’ button.
After you’ve finished, you’ll see a message at the bottom of your bowl. It roughly means “drinking the soup until a drop is left is our greatest joy.”
4. Paying your Bill
After you’ve finished, simply take your bill from your table and give it to the cashiers. – If you only order ramen, your bill would just come to $288.
My bill came to $384, which was for the ramen, half-boiled egg ($38), and Calpis drink ($56). If you ordered the ramen refill ($48), it may come on a separate bill.
The cashiers are by the exit, so you pay just as you leave.
If you’ve never been, then you really should go, even if it’s just for the experience.
Will we go back?
We’ve been back a few times already. Although we would’ve visited a lot more times if we weren’t put off by the long waiting times to get seated.
Opening hours: 24-hours
English address: 1F, No. 97, Songren Road, Xinyi District, Taipei 110, Taiwan
Chinese address: 110台北市信義區松仁路97號
Closest MRTs: Xiangshan MRT (about 5 mins walk),
Opening hours: 24-hours
English address: Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Xinyi Place A11, B1, Songshou Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City
Chinese address: 台北市信義區松壽路11號B1 (信義新天地A11館)
Closest MRTs: Xiangshan MRT (about 7 mins walk),
🗓️ Updated: January 2021 – Taipei.Expats