Japan is home to a variety of many different type of Japanese cuisine. Things like sushi, takoyaki, and okonomiyaki is what Japan is famous for overseas. But one of Japans most famous dishes is undoubtedly, ramen. In my short time here I have had my fair share of ramen at restaurants. I’ve also eaten a lot instant ramen from the supermarket and to be honest even the instant ramen is a step above the instant ramen I would buy back at home. Buy so far one of the most interesting experiences that I have had here was eating at Menbakaichidai in Kyoto.
Menbakaichidai is a ramen shop in Kyoto where they set your ramen on fire before you eat it! I saw many videos about it on social media before coming so I was very excited to go. It’s about a two hour journey from where I live to get there so I had to get up pretty early so that could get there at opening time. It took about three train transfers and some walking but I arrived safe and sound. However even at the opening time at 11:30 am, there was already about eight to ten people already queued up! So I had to wait for about another 20 minutes before actually getting it.
When I finally got in I was seated and was asked to put on a white paper apron and a small white tarp on my legs. This would help anyone from getting their clothes dirty. In addition before the “show” started we were asked to hand over our phones so that they could put them on selfie sticks on the opposite side of the counter to record or take pictures of our experience. They then put the ramen about 1 foot (0.3 meters) away from us and poured in a liquid that set it aflame! It was much hotter than whatever it was I expected, I could even feel the flames from the ramen about 5 seats down to my right. Ramen is such a big part of Japanese culture that I think anyone studying abroad in Japan needs to have as much as they can while here. If you don’t think you have they funds you can always apply for things like the Gilman Scholarship like I did. They have been a enormous help in letting me have this unique experiences in Japan.