Menbaka Ichidai is serving its fiery ramen abroad for the first time.
Any travel guide to Kyoto will recommend visiting the city’s historic temples and beautiful shrines, but when it comes to food you can’t get anywhere else, no trip to the ancient capital is complete without a visit to a restaurant called “Fire Windows“.
The restaurant, whose official name is Menbaka Ichidai, gets its nickname from its signature dish: a flaming bowl of ramen. And it’s not all about the noodles – it’s about the experience as diners sit at the counter in front of the chef and are told lean away keeping their hands behind their back so that the chef can add one last ingredient to his bowl of noodles.
▼ That last ingredient is literally fire.
Founded in 1984 in Kyoto, the restaurant has become extremely popular with foreign tourists, even ranked as the sixth most popular restaurant for foreigners in Japan in 2017. However, with international travel severely restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of customers at the Kyoto restaurant has fallen, forcing Menbaka to close its doors until next year.
However, when one door closes, another opens, and Menbaka has entered that door Singapore, where they now open their very first overseas branch. The opening was originally scheduled for April this year, but was postponed due to the pandemic.
▼ This message from the store was shared online earlier this year, when the branch in Kyoto was still open.
Note: our opening in Singapore
has been delayed
Due to the current situation of Covid-19 and travel restrictions in Singapore, we are deeply saddened to inform all our ramen fans that we will be delaying our opening and cannot confirm an exact launch date for now. pic.twitter.com/YDIL21eMx5
– Fireramen (@menbakaichidai) March 31, 2020
Japan Food Entertainment, the company behind Menbaka, says they have received many offers for overseas expansion, but decided to expand into Singapore after partnering with South East Asia Food Entertainment (SEAFE). This collaboration allowed them to find the best ingredients to recreate the taste of the original ramen as closely as possible, which gave SEAFE franchise rights outside Japan.
In keeping with the concept of serving not only ramen, but also an entertaining dining experience, the new branch will open at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard, an urban shopping center that is also one of Singapore’s top tourist destinations.
▼ The new branch in Singapore
The grand opening will take place on November 24 and Japan Food Entertainment says it plans to expand with more stores in the future, mainly in Asia.
As for the Kyoto store, which was on fire last year when we visited, Menbaka operators say they plan to reopen the branch early next year, so until then this unique ramen experience can only be enjoyed in Singapore .
Menbaka Kyoto Fire Ramen
Address: Cineleisure Orchard 5F, 8 Grange Rd, Singapore 239695
Open from 12 noon to 9 pm
Source, images: PR Times © SoraNews24
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