Fire Ramen at Menbaka
At precisely 3:40pm on 24 November, Menbaka Kyoto Fire Ramen will see the opening of its first ever overseas outlet. This ramen import at Cineleisure Orchard joins the likes of Keisuke, Hototogisu, Afuri and Ippudo in Singapore.
Founder Masamichi Miyazawa first opened Menbaka in 1984 in Kyoto, Japan, before passing the reins to his son. Shin Miyazawa, who runs Menbaka today, left his corporate job in real estate to help his father with the ramen diner.
Menbaka first gained fame in Kyoto for its dramatic bowls of ramen that are literally set on fire before diners’ eyes. Another standout point is how the bowls capture the essence of negi, without the raw taste that many dislike.
I approached this tasting with mixed feelings, because of the mountain of negi (spring onions) that tops each bowl of ramen at Menbaka. Yet, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience the fiery spectacle in person.
Food at Menbaka Ramen
For safety measures, you have to surrender your phone to Chef before the pyrotechnics. He’ll mount it on a selfie stick across from the counter, and hit ‘Record’ on your behalf, to catch your reaction to the flames on camera.
What was most entertaining was the flipcards of warnings you’re presented with, ahead of the theatrics.
‘’Don’t run away. Because your seat will be oily then.” Yes, sir.
“Don’t scream. Don’t make a fuss.” Yes, sir.
I honestly feared a little for my safety. The flames blazed sky high, hot oil splattered everywhere, and I was hit by a tsunami of heat when the burning negi oil was poured into the bowl.
I’m happy to report that all’s well. The scalding oil achieved two purposes. First, it provided delightful notes of charred scallions, and second, removed