Looking for ramen to warm you up without the feeling of having downed a ton of bricks? Sekai Ichi Hima Na Ramen-ya, located a hop and a skip from, Umeda serves up soulful, flavourful noodle bowls perfect for a chilly night.
Witch's Red with ramen egg and extra chashu - image © Florentyna Leow
The following things about Osaka are true:
- 1. Osaka has many great ramen restaurants.
- 2. Unless you take taxis, you will spend inordinate amounts of time underground simply navigating Osaka's subway system and trying to find the right exit.
This makes traipsing around the city hunting for ramen a slightly more tiring endeavour than it should be, though the upshot is that you will work up a good appetite in between bowls. If you are going to find your way to Sekai Ichi Hima na Ramen-ya from Higobashi Station, you will walk plenty.
Outside the restaurant. - image © Florentyna Leow
The name translates to ‘The Most Deserted Ramen Bar in the World.’ This is a slight irony, since it is one of the more highly-rated ramen restaurants in this part of town and has a small queue to match. (It isn't central enough to warrant extremely long lines, thank goodness.) Get there early and you'll wait less.
Inside the restaurant. - image © Florentyna Leow
Located on the far end of a swanky-looking office building, Sekai Ichi is on the chic end of the spectrum for ramen restaurants. It's all clean lines and spotlit tables and seats, chrome yellow accents everywhere. Rock and pop music round out the atmosphere here. There are tables for those coming here in pairs or fours. But I always think that ramen is especially suited for solo dining. It's fun to be at Sekai Ichi alone, especially if you're seated at the end of the counter next to the wall.
The menu at Sekai Ich - image © Florentyna Leow
Sekai Ichi is an unequivocally youthful brand. The (Japanese-only) descriptions below each ramen selection on the menu read like dramatic voiceovers in an anime where several characters set off on an epic quest, or Twitter ramblings, depending on which one you're reading. Let's render one in English:
CAPTAIN GOLD COME BACK!!
- Spicy light soy sause ramen -
CAPTAIN GOLD ramen with yuzu oil and chilli peppers. Enjoy the lightness of yuzu.
He returns!! Having defeated the evil son of a gun
But, on his body are chilli pepper wounds...
It is rather amusing to read and makes ordering more difficult - everything begins to sound like an epic meal in this light. (The staff are, tragically, efficient and straightforward. Don't expect a mid-meal swashbuckling adventure.) In this case, I'm running with the classic - Witch's Red, with an extra slice of chashu.
Garlic-free gyoza. - image © Florentyna Leow
The gyoza is not a necessary order, but if you must have some it is best shared. Eat while it is still hot enough to blister your tongue, with a wee dab of dipping salt rather than the usual soy.
Close-up of the ramen - image © Florentyna Leow
Your ramen arrives in a bowl of unusual depth, probably so that liquid doesn't splash everywhere. A shoyu broth, yes, but with a faint herbal bitterness in the background that I loved (reminiscent of bak kut teh), a warm peppery bite enlivening each slurp. Everything hinges on the broth. Everything else is almost secondary. Almost. Luckily, the bamboo strips are acceptably crunchy. The noodles have a good bite to them. The chashu comes in huge, thin, deceptively substantial circles, like face masks. It is not exceptional but it is enjoyable.
If you are picky about your eggs, as I am, skip it - I think they should be gooier than they are. The ajitsuke tamago is an extra here rather than a must. Sometimes I wonder if the yolk texture is deliberate or if I just happened to encounter the kitchen on an off-egg day.
Cross-section of the marinated egg. - image © Florentyna Leow
As I slurped I recalled the girl next to me in the queue telling her friend about her stint in a company not far from this ramen restaurant. “I'd be working until 12, and just took on all the work myself... I'd miss the last train, and walk 40 minutes home in one straight line. Those are my memories of Yodoyabashi.” She laughed. “I don't have much memory of what happened this time last year. It passed by as a blur. But one thing I did learn as I grew older - whatever happens, I would just take it as an experience... that's what I decided to do.”
I wondered if she had had a place like this to visit while walking home. The ramen here isn't the world's best ramen, but it is pretty damn solid. It is worth eating again. It's the kind of bowl you'd want to eat on the way home from a shitty job, just to reassure yourself that there's something worth living for.
Look for a building with columns like this - the entrance to Nakanoshima Dai Building. - image © Florentyna Leow
Directions: From Watanabebashi Station on the Keihan Line, take Exit 1. Cross the road to Nakanoshima Dai Building, as seen above. Enter and take the escalators to the second floor.
Sekai Ichi Hima Na Ramenya
Name in Japanese:
2F Nakanoshima Dai Building, 3-3-23 Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Osaka 〒530-0005
〒530-0005 大阪府大阪市北区中之島3-3-23 中之島ダイビル 2F
11:00am〜10:00pm (Closes when they run out of chashu)
Closed Sundays and during year-end holidays
Train: 3-minute walk from Exit 1 of Watanabebashi Station on the Keihan Nakanoshima Line
Subway: 8-minute walk from Exit 3 of Higobashi Station on the Yotsubashi Subway Line (We suggest following the underground signs to the Keihan station and exiting there)
:: Read customer reviews of Sekai Ichi Hima Na Ramenya on TripAdvisor
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