Menbakaichidai is a small restaurant located in Kyoto’s Nijo Castle which serves the Fire experience that should not be missed. This is a perfect refuel stop at the end of the day as you can walk to this restaurant from Nijo Castle and the Imperial Palace. You will get to experience Ramen with a unique fire show where not only the flames will impress you but also the taste of their delicious smokey Fire Ramen. With 30 years of experience, the restaurant serves these flaming ramen bowls with 3 different choices of set all based on the Fire Ramen.
NO RAMEN NO LIFE!
Every seat offers you prime views of the open kitchen where you can see how the ramen is prepared. Follow each step as the ingredients come together with a soy-based broth containing a special blend soup of chicken, pork, and fish and topped with a lot of Green onion (local onion produced in Kyoto and called Kujo Negi) and Chashu. Don’t miss out on how the ingredients are used to enhance the Fire experience. Once the burning oil is poured on top of the ramen, the key ingredient: green onions give a smoky and savoury flavour to it. The entire cooking process and the ingredients provide a unique charred taste to the Ramen.
Since there is no booking for this restaurant, be prepared to line up in front of the shop. There is a ticket machine outside so you just have to take a number and if its busy wait for your turn or you’ll be invited in if not.
The Rules of Eating Fire Ramen
Once in, you will be asked where you are from, which is to determine which language menu you’d need for ordering. At your counter seat, you’ll be given a menu explaining the different options and sets. Now since you cannot share a bowl of fire ramen; each person orders a separate bowl. For those who have allergies, there are ingredients listed on the menu. After ordering, your menu will be turned over to show the Fire Ramen Rules. The staff will explain the rules to you as each and every customer needs to understand and follow the rules seriously (if they do not want to be singed!).
You need to remain seated as the staff will provide a paper apron to protect your clothes from the oil. Also, the friendly staff will make sure to clear any uneasiness you might have and make you feel comfortable the whole time. The real kicker is NO PHOTOS. Yes, yes. I am sure you are thinking: “What will be the point of pouring lava down my throat if I cannot take pictures? How will I brag about my bravery?” We feel you. You will be pleased to know that the restaurant is social media friendly. There are several selfie sticks placed behind the counter and fixed securely with adaptable cases. So, fear not, young traveller! Go ahead and enjoy this flaming hot experience while it is also captured perfectly in your camera!
How Hot IS Fire Ramen?
You can feel the intensity as soon as the bowl of yet-unfired ramen is placed in front of you and the chef pours streaming flames into your ramen which scorches not only those green onions but also your horrified face. Although, the flames don’t last long the heat is undeniable and genuinely really exciting. Wait for the orders to dig in once your table area has been cleaned and your bowl is slid across to you.
The highlight may be the flaming bowls; however, the pictures are the most hilarious part of this experience. The chef will quickly give you very specific commands: “Pose! No eating! Mouth open! Head up! Look up! NO EATING!”; so we shall recommend you to look up and just pose as quick as you can with your noodles raised and mouth open because he will not give up!
Endure this fiery fate and you can even get T-shirts and bowls adorned with the phrase “No Ramen No Life” to remember your fire ramen experience.