Solving the mystery of the “world’s most hectic noodles” from Human Beings Everybody Noodles. 

With so many ramen restaurants in Japan, it can be helpful to have something that gives you the edge on the competition. That appears to be the mindset of one particular ramen restaurant, run by a company called “Unchi“, which translates to “Poop“.

Our reporter Ikuna Kamezawa recently learned of this restaurant’s existence on a recent journey to her hometown of Tottori Prefecture. As no Shinkansen bullet trains stop at Tottori, Ikuna takes the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka and then a bus to Tottori, and this road trip includes a 10-minute highway stop at the outbound Kasai Service Area in Hyogo Prefecture.

It’d been a full year since Ikuna last stopped at this highway rest area, and when she stepped off the bus, she saw something she hadn’t seen here before — banners advertising “世界一忙しいラーメン屋” (“Sekaiichi isogashii ramen-ya”), which translates to “The most hectic ramen joint in the world“.

▼ Curiously, the translation in English on the banner went for a different take entirely, reading: “The most hopeful Ramen Bar in the world“.

Needless to say, these banners immediately piqued Ikuna’s interest, so she headed inside and scanned the area for more information.

She found that information at a ticket vending machine in the dining area, which had a small poster plastered on it.

These noodles were produced by Takahiro Matsumura, the founder of a  famous restaurant in Osaka named Human Beings Everybody Noodles.

▼ The noodles were on the menu under the name, “World’s Most Hectic Ramen“.

With one piece of the puzzle now in place, Ikuna glanced at her watch and realised her 10-minute highway stop was almost up, leaving her with no more time for any further investigations. Jumping back on the bus, her head was swimming with questions — what made this ramen store hectic, or even hopeful? From what she’d seen on the machine, the noodles didn’t look any different to the noodles at any other restaurant, so it had to be related to something other than the food itself. But what could it be?

▼ Ramen from the world’s most hectic ramen store, or the most hopeful, depending on which language you speak.

Days later, Ikuna found herself still pondering over the mystery of the noodles, so she decided to pick up the phone and call the service area to get the scoop on what they were about.

The manager, Mr Kondo, was kind enough to answer her questions, starting first with the issue of the name.

Ikuna: “So, what does “Sekaiichi isogashii ramen-ya” actually mean?”

Mr Kondo: “Well…the nuance in the name makes it seem like they’re aiming to create the sense of a hectic ramen shop.”

Ikuna: “Huh!!!!!!?”

Mr. Kondo: “A hectic, or busy, ramen store can be a sign that the ramen is delicious.”

Ikuna: “But ‘World’s Most Hectic Store’ is different to ‘Aiming to be a Hectic Ramen Store’!!”

Mr. Kondo: “Hehehe…Well, the boiling time for the World’s Most Hectic Ramen is about two-and-a-half minutes, so if you’re a quick eater, you might be able to finish it in 10 minutes. Of course, it’s a different story if it’s crowded.”

Ikuna: “Oh, right! Well now I can see how the rush to eat it would make it the ‘most hectic ramen in the world’.” (lol)

Mr Kondo: “That’s right (lol). This ramen was just renewed in May as the centrepiece of our service area, and in August, the busy season, we sold about 6,500 bowls. So thanks to customers, it became a hectic ramen joint!”

Ikuna: “What kind of taste does it have?”

Mr Kondo: “The soup is seafood-based and it has a soy sauce flavour. The ‘rare char siu’ is roasted at a low temperature so it looks more like roast beef than char siu, and it has a deliciousness that’s indescribable.”

Ikuna: “Wow! I want to eat it!! Is it only sold at the outbound Kasai Service Area?”

Mr Kondo: “You can also eat it at the inbound Miki Service Area on the Sanyo Expressway, but the contents are a little different. At our place, we use yuzu, a local specialty, as a topping, and we also use local ingredients from Kasai. So the only place where you can eat this version is at the outbound Kasai Service Area.”

Ikuna: “I see, thank you very much!”

So there you have it – the hectic ramen at this service area is hectic because you’ll have to slurp quick if you want to finish a bowl during a 10-minute stop on the highway bus. That also makes it the most hopeful, because your chances of doing that without burning yourself are slim.

So proceed with caution if you do decide to order the “world’s most hectic ramen”, as it’ll be a hectic meal you likely won’t ever forget. For a safer highway experience, you might want to stop by the Sano Service Area, where you can get coffee and a Beach Boys tune from a vending machine instead.

Site information
Kasai Service Area (outbound) / 加西サービスエリア(下り線)
Address: Hyogo-ken, Kasai-shi, Hatacho 2276-2

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[ Read in Japanese ]