[Osaka] For ramen fans, Ichiran Ramen 一蘭 known for its Hakata style noodles and rich tonkotsu broth needs little introduction.
It continues to attract long lines almost everywhere it has a branch.
Do you know that there are two outlets of Ichiran in Japan which are “pork-free”? That means no use of pork or alcohol in their ramen.
They are located at Osaka Shinsaibashisuji, and Tokyo Nishi-Shinjuku.
However, Ichiran has emphasized on its website that while there is no pork used, the meat (chicken and beef) used is not Halal-certified, and this is not considered “Halal ramen”.
When I visited the store in Osaka, there were actually quite a number of Muslims in the queue.
Interesting to note that all the staff were wearing green T-shirts instead of the usual red, and chairs were in a similar green (though they emphasized “not Halal”).
Do note that there is also “draft beer” sold.
Getting to this branch is not that difficult, a short walk from Osaka Metro Midosuji Line Namba Station (Exit 14) or Nankai Main Line Namba Station. Just find Gurukasu City Building and walk up the stairs to the second level.
The famous Dotombori street and the iconic Glico Sign is just a turn away, making this convenient for tourists to visit.
However, take note that there are only 25 seats in the restaurant, and you would likely need to wait a while during peak hours.
Also as the restaurant is known for its individual booth seating, there were some families who found some challenges as they wanted to “sit together”.
How it works: order via a vending machine, make your selection of noodle customisation via the order sheet, then wait to be seated.
There are only two main choices in terms of ramen – the Ichiran Ramen (1,180 Yen, SGD14.70), or Ichiran Select 5 (1,680 Yen, SGD20.90), in which you can customise with 5 top-up ingredients.
My personal recommendation would be to go for the extra firm noodles, rich soup, and medium spiciness. However, this is really personal and depends on your preference and mood for the day.
The one other note-worthy thing is that the ramen is served in the classic black rectangular bowl, which is also known as their ceramic jubako bowls.
Lift up the heavy lid, and take a whiff of the aroma.
The stock is made of chicken and other ingredients, yet its consistency, richness and salty level was very close to its tonkotsu version (but there was just that something missing).
Instead of chashu pork slices, diners get tender stewed beef. I thought that the portion of the meat was too little, and perhaps would order a top-up of extra beef at 300 Yen in future.
For diners who do not eat pork, this was actually a very close alternative.
To be honest, it was not as impressionable as the bowl I had in Fukuoka. Somehow the soup lacked that “oomph” and was not as steaming-hot.
The other good news is: No-pork instant Ichiran Noodles (five packets in a box) are available specifically at these two branches at 2,200 Yen per box (SGS27.35).
Ichiran Porkless Ramen – Osaka
Gurukasu City Building 2F, 2-4-2 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka-fu (Namba Station Exit 14)
Opening Hours: 9am – 1am (Sun – Thurs, PH), 9am – 3am, (Fri, Sat, Eve of PH)
Ichiran Porkless Ramen – Tokyo
Otakibashi Pacifica Building 1F, Nishi-Shinjuku 7-Chome 10-18, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 24 Hours (Mon – Sun)