Fukuoka chain Ichiran expands to new country, immediately wins over the locals.
Popular Japanese restaurant chain Ichiran, which was founded in Fukuoka, is loved for its delicious tonkotsu (pork stock) ramen. However, Ichiran is also known for its unique seating system, in which customers sit in individual booths with tall side walls and are served their food through a reed blind.
The philosophy is that removing the distractions of interpersonal interactions and glances allows you to better focus on the flavor of the food, but a side-effect is that eating at Ichiran can feel a little lonely. The irony is that since the chain is so popular, before you can actually get into an Ichiran location you’re probably going to have to wait in a long line together with many fellow ramen fans, which brings us to the restaurant’s newest branch in Taipei.
Located in the Xinyi neighborhood, the Taipei branch is Ichiran’s first in Taiwan, and follows previous overseas expansions into Hong Kong and the U.S. Seats filled up as soon as the Taipei restaurant opened its doors for the first time on June 15, with as many as 200 people standing in the queue. With such a long line, ordinarily you’d have to worry about whether or not you’d be able to get in before closing time, but the Taipei Ichiran is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The combination of seemingly limitless demand and no time-based cutoff of supply has meant that while the line became longer or shorter depending on the exact time, it never completely disappeared. On the night of June 25 – 10 days and 250 hours after the grand opening – there were still some 70 people waiting for a seat.
Making this even more shocking is that Taipei has had daytime high temperatures around 34 degrees Celsius (93.2 degrees Fahrenheit) for the past week, which comes during some of the highest humidity of the year. Still, it hasn’t dissuaded crowds from coming to stand in the heat for their chance at some piping hot ramen.