Japanese food manufacturer Nissin, maker of incredibly popular “like fresh” instant noodle brand Raō, has taken the unusual step of opening a tiny restaurant of its own in Shibuya station, Tokyo. The restaurant opened just yesterday and is situated, of all places, in the very centre of the busy Yamanote line platform.

The miniature restaurant’s menu consists of just two items: two flavours of regular, shop-bought instant ramen, each costing just 250 yen (US$3).

Always eager to try out new food and discover interesting new locations, our intrepid RocketNews24 reporters headed down to see the restaurant for themselves.

With the average bowl of ramen costing anywhere between 400-750 yen, few businesspeople are able to make their pocket-money stretch, and instead opt for packed lunches or less satisfying budget-friendly meals.

With the arrival of the Raō Instant Ramen Restaurant, though, things may be set to change.

Platform noodle stands are nothing new in Japan, particularly in less urban areas where people find themselves with time to kill between trains, but none have ever offered an experience quite like this…

The premise is simple: this is regular, everyday instant ramen that can be purchased in supermarkets, prepared for you in the blink of an eye and served in a minimalist restaurant. Costing roughly half the price of an average lunch, diners can choose between either soy sauce or miso-based noodles.

No lines of people staring at menus wondering what to have, no waiting around for your food, and certainly no having to explain to your husband or wife how you’ve managed to spend your week’s lunch money by Wednesday…

Visiting a restaurant to eat food that you could ordinarily make yourself seems quite odd at first, but there’s a strange curiousity to having the noodles prepared and served like in an ordinary restaurant. We can only liken the experience to sitting down to eat a snack pack or ordering up a round of Pop-Tarts and having them presented to you on a plate with a sprinkle of powdered sugar…

For such a low price, you might expect to receive nothing but half a bowl of sad-looking noodles and little else, but take another look at this dish:

While we’d never pretend that this is quite on-par with a traditional ramen shop’s efforts, for 250 yen this is pretty good! We’ve got noodles, soup, half a hard-boiled egg, spring onion, a slice of char sui pork… This could almost pass for the real deal!

Let’s take a look at the video our reporters shot during the special media unveiling:

Did that make anyone else hungry? I know where I’m headed this weekend…

With a very simple interior layout and a kitchen consisting of little more than the raw ingredients and a couple of induction heaters, this is certainly not a location to bring a date, but for the time-conscious businessperson or economising student who wants to eat something a little more nourishing than hamburgers, this place is ideal. We have to applaud Nissin- not only is this mini ramen shop likely to receive a great deal of custom, it’s also a novel and interesting way of advertising something as simple as packets of instant noodles, with many people likely buying the brand again as a result.

Raō Instant Ramen Shop
– JR Shibuya Station, Yamanote Line platform
– Open 10:00 a.m. ~ 10.00 p.m. (last order 9:30 p.m.)

Video/photos: RocketNews24 Restaurant front image: 日清食品

▼ Cookin’ it up!

▼Fastest fast food ever?

▼The menu- keeping it simple

▼A healthy dose of advertising

▼Simple layout

▼You can find the restaurant at Shibuya station on the JR Yamanote line

[ Read in Japanese ]