Is getting ramen for takeout even worth it?

At least the pandemic brought us one good thing: a lot more restaurants in Japan are offering food to-go than ever before. While previously most takeout options were bentos and fast food, now you can get almost anything to-go, and it’s glorious!

One food you probably wouldn’t think to take out is ramen, but at Kyoto-based ramen chain Tenka Ippin, you can! And we’re not talking just ramen broth on its own, or the kind of takeout ramen where you have to bring your own pot. Tenka Ippin is actually offering take-home, microwaveable ramen sets that are perfect for when you want some tasty takeout–and they’re almost as delicious as eating at the restaurant.

The set is known as “Renchin Ramen”, named after the Japanese word for microwaves and the chime they sound when they’re done. The price for the set differs depending on the location and ownership of restaurant you buy it from. At non-franchised restaurants in the Kanto (east Japan) region, for example, the usual price seems to be 776 yen (US$7.14), but in our case, we paid 806 yen.

We traveled about 30 minutes round-trip by train to get to the nearest Tenka Ippin to pick up our Renchin Ramen. Of the three flavors (rich, light, and street stand), we chose the “Kotteri” ramen, which comes with a thicker, richer broth. Excited to try it, we pulled it out of the bag right when we got home.

The set contained a bowl that holds the broth and noodles separately, two pieces of chashu pork, chopped green onions, and vegetable toppings.

All you have to do is warm it up, pour the toppings in and eat it!


“Please consume within 30 minutes,” it said. Wait….what?!  We….we didn’t know this was a timed challenge!! Our bowl was prepared at 15:25, and by the time we got home and opened it up, it was already 16:10…long past the 30 minute mark!

Was it too late to eat our ramen? Had it gone bad? What could we do? We called the restaurant, and thankfully, they assured us that 30 minutes was just a recommendation. The actual expiration is the end of the day, though they recommend you eat it as soon as possible. After 30 minutes the noodles have the potential to harden, the restaurant staff told us, so as long as we were aware of that, it was safe to eat.

As expected, our noodles had, in fact, hardened slightly, and had started to stick together to form a disc. But that was okay…we’d make it work!

The process of preparing the ramen to eat is super easy. First you pour the noodles in the broth and give them a good stir.

Then you put the whole thing in the microwave for just one minute. That’s it!

After that all you have to do is add the toppings, and voila! It’s ready to eat. The bowl was quite small so it looked like a huge portion with all the toppings.

Amazingly, this ramen was a dead ringer for the ramen they serve in-house at Tenka Ippin! While many restaurants are only offering special menu items for takeout, Tenka Ippin appears to be offering its signature ramen, just under a different name. The color, richness, and viscosity of the broth were a perfect match. Rather than being only similar to the in-restaurant broth, it was exactly the same.

The noodles did end up being a little clumpy. We tried to stir them as much as we could, but we couldn’t rid them of all of their hardness. Nevertheless, the flavor was on par, and they did soften enough to safely slurp up, so they ended up being perfectly acceptable.

As a whole, this was a very tasty bowl of takeout ramen. We’d say it’s about 80 percent as good as eating at the restaurant. The missing 20 percent comes from the hardness of the noodles (10 percent), and the ambiance of the bowl (10 percent). But it goes without saying that 80 percent is still delicious and satisfying!

Sadly, Tenka Ippin’s Renchin Ramen is only available at a few locations right now, so you might not have the option to order it at a branch near you. However, they are also offering instant ramen known as “Iemen”, which comes in a set with prepackaged fresh noodles, broth, and toppings of your choice, which you can order online from Tenka Ippin’s Online Shop. These take a little more work because you have to boil the noodles and warm the broth, but it tastes 100-percent like Tenka Ippin’s original ramen, so it’s well worth it!

▼ Iemen Ramen

Tenka Ippin is planning on rolling out Renchin Ramen at all the branches eventually, so you’ll hopefully be able to order it from your local branch soon, if you can’t already. In the meantime, we also recommend the takeout options of another Kyoto-based ramen shop: Honge Daiichi Asahi!

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