Menbakaichidai Fire Ramen
For a literally explosive “only-in Kyoto” treat, make way for the fire ramen at Menbakaichidai, a greasy ramen shop in Kyoto’s outlaying Kamigyo-Ku ward where liquid flames are poured from a cast iron pot directly into bowls of ramen on the counter in front of you. The ramen’s killer stock is made with a homemade soy sauce and a blend of broths using chicken, pork, and nine types of seafood. Floating in it are thin brown noodles topped with tender slices of chashu, pork-belly imported from Mexico
, and soy sauce eggs. The liquid fire is made with scallion flavored vegetable oil heated to 680 degrees Fahrenheit which combusts when it hits the broth gently charring the chashu and giving it a subtle smoky flavor. Diners must wear aprons and are asked to pay close attention during the molten flame pour. To capture the experience on video, the chef offers to attach the diners’ phones and cameras to hooks ingeniously strung from the ceiling.