“Bring them ramen until they can’t eat any more.” A surreal evening at Tokyo’s annual noodle extravaganza.
“Bring them ramen until they can’t eat any more.” Surely these words are every noodle-lover’s fantasy: especially when they come straight from the mouth of Shigemi Kawahara, the CEO and founder of Ippudo, one of the most famous ramen chains in the world.
I’m just back from this year’s Tokyo Ramen Show and to say it was a bit of a surreal experience would be an understatement. I originally planned to meet my mates Tom & Sam for a quick bowl of ramen at the event but that soon turned into ten bowls, for free, backstage. Sam’s mate GG was in town who works for Ippudo in the US, and after introducing himself we were ushered backstage by Shigemi Kawahara himself and told to eat as much as we could handle.
Tokyo Ramen Show is the big event on the Japanese ramen calander: The greatest ramen makers from all over Japan gather in Komazawa Olympic Park, once a year, serving tens of thousands of bowls to eager, hungry maniacs. This year, we were just some of those manaics, but I doubt anyone got as lucky as us. Massive thanks thanks to GG and Shigemi Kawahara!
Tokyo Ramen Show runs until Sunday 24 November at Komazawa Olympic Park (Komazawa-Daigaku Station on the Denentoshi line). Free entry; ramen tickets ¥800. 10am-9pm