Fire Ramen @ Menbakaichidai (めん馬鹿一代)

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

After visiting Nijo Castle (二条城), we decided to have lunch at Menbakaichidai (めん馬鹿一代), a restaurant famous for their fire ramen or green onion ramen. They don't take reservations, so do factor in some waiting time if you wish to eat at this restaurant. It only took us about 10 minutes to walk to Menbakaichidai, but we arrived around 12 noon and had to wait almost an hour before we got our seats. (And there was only the two of us!)

Upon entering the restaurant, the waiter will ask what country you are from and give you an menu accordingly. We obviously got the English one, and Sharon and I both ordered a bowl of fire ramen each (with an egg) and a plate of gyoza to share.

What makes this restaurant so popular is really because of the experience. Each person is given a paper apron to wear before a bowl of ramen is placed in front of them about an arm's length away. After that, the chef will pour searing hot oil over the green onions to ignite an amazing burst of flames right in front of you. About 20 seconds later, your ramen is ready to be eaten—but don't touch the bowl because it is HOT. In fact, the heat was so intense I thought my makeup was melting off! I was even worried that the temperature was too high for the contacts in my eyes, but luckily, it was okay.

The purpose of the fire is to bring out the flavours and savory aroma of the green onions, and to my surprise, the ramen was nothing short of delicious. I absolutely loved the slightly burnt flavour of the ramen and the broth was thick but not too salty. The gyoza was also very good—crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take any photos of the action or "fire" because the group before us had already started eating and we had already finished eating before the next group started (sigh). We finished in like 10 minutes! #gawd The only footage we managed to get is this video recorded on Sharon's phone. Menbakaichidai assumingly attracts more tourists than locals that they even have a number of selfie sticks hanging across their kitchen ceiling so that they can take one phone from each group and help everyone record their expressions while they're getting blasted with flames. And before we left, the chef even asked us where we were going afterwards so he could give us directions and which bus to take! Talk about service!

Menbakaichidai (めん馬鹿一代)
757-2 Minamiiseyacho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto 602-8153
602-8153 京都市 上京区 丸太町通日暮西入南伊勢屋町757-2

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