What Is a ‘Flavour Concentration Booth’ and Why Doesn’t Vancouver Have Any?

Have you ever just wanted to loudly slurp up a bowl of ramen all by your lonesome, isolated in a booth where you could fully concentrate on the awesomeness of what you were consuming? Me too. Founded in 1960 in the Japanese city of Fukuoka, ramen chain Ichiran specializes in two things: tonkotsu (rich pork bone broth) ramen and “low-interaction dining”. Customers dine alone in “flavour-concentration booths”, which are really side-shielded, single-seat cubicles with curtains separating them from the staff. This means one can start and finish an entire meal without ever seeing another person. There are now over 60 Ichiran restaurants spread across Japan (some open 24 hours a day), plus locations in Hong Kong, Taipei and Brooklyn (the only address in North America opened last Fall). We’re crossing our fingers for its eventual arrival in Vancouver, ideally somewhere in old Japantown.

Note: If it’s the ramen you’re interested in rather than the isolation, a close approximation would be the amazing bowls offered at Danbo.

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