Foodie Friday: teamLab Spicy Ramen

I love spicy food, and I love ramen–though I have to be careful about where I eat it in Japan, because I’m allergic to fish, and a lot of ramen uses dashi (bonito broth) as a base, even if the “official” flavor of the soup has nothing to do with fish.

For that reason, I was excited to learn that the teamLab Planets exhibition also has a restaurant, which serves vegan ramen inside a separate art installation adjacent to the primary exhibition.

You choose and pay for your meal before you enter the dining/exhibition space (the entrance is the dark doorway on the right). The choices are all vegan; the day I visited the menu included “spicy fire ramen” (my choice-served hot), hot miso ramen, and cold ramen with a matcha base and edible flowers. They all sounded interesting, but I’d come for the heat.

“Fire ramen”

Like all of the teamLab exhibitions, the dining space features digital art that’s constantly in motion and generated on the spot–it’s not a looping “show,” but rather an ongoing, computer-generated display. Almost every surface in the room is mirrored, which creates an infinity effect. That might seem distracting, but in fact it’s really cool.

The servers brought out a light so I could capture the real color of the ramen

The fire ramen has a spicy vegan broth that somehow tastes like it’s made from a combination of rich pork and chicken stock. If I hadn’t known it was vegan, I never would have guessed.

“Spicy” food in Japan usually isn’t (at least by my standards), but this was startlingly hot, even for my heat-loving American palate.

Half of a delicious, juicy tomato rested atop the ramen noodles, itself topped by chopped onion and crispy saffron noodles.

Every bite delicious–and very spicy!

On a scale of 1-10, this gets an 11. Super hot, but very, very flavorful, with a mixture of flavors and textures that don’t get overwhelmed by the heat. The heat does build over time, so it’s worth getting a drink that can help reduce or clear the heat when needed. I’ve already been back for this again, though, and I’ll go back at least once more before the exhibition (and the restaurant) closes at the end of 2023. Absolutely recommend!