Let me start by stating the obvious, Ramen restaurants are not Dutch.
I say this because AmsterdamWonderland is about recommending the very best of Amsterdam to visitors – places with a local flavour that are grounded in this amazing city. And so, in theory, the last thing I’d ever recommend to someone visiting for a few days is a ramen restaurant. I mean you could eat ramen anywhere in the world, right?
Except the ramen I had in Amsterdam this week was so freaking good I can’t bear not to write it up.
For the last few years, ramen has become hugely popular in Amsterdam and although I try to spend my time here trying out restaurants that tick the AmsterdamWonderland box, naturally I do have sushi or noodles on occasion. These places never make it onto the blog because as I say, why come to Amsterdam for Asian food (except Indonesian which is in fact very Dutch). I’ve had lots of decent noodles here. Everything from average to quite good. But nothing, I mean nothing, has come close to the ramen I had at Ramen Kingdom. And its so good I can’t stop thinking about it. And what’s more I’m going back this week for another helping.
This place isn’t even in a lovely location. Near Centraal Station on a busy corner, its small and hectic and surrounded by utterly uninspiring touristy eateries.
But I’d heard it was ‘the best’ and I needed to check it out myself so accompanied by The Noodle Pro himself, we headed there for lunch.
We got super-lucky. I’d heard there is usually a (fast-moving) queue but we walked straight in at lunchtime on a Wednesday.
The instructions are simple:
- Use the touch panel to place your order
- Add two extra toppings or an extra topping and a green tea
- Take a receipt and show it to the staff who will seat you
- If there aren’t any seats you will receive a ‘waiting ticket’ and you wait at the side or outside if the interior is full
And so €20 a head later, we placed our orders and stepped into the tiny but buzzing restaurant, decorated with Japan-kitch (think Anime inspired books, figures, vending machines and music) and took a seat at the bar.
Two ‘pork basic’ ramen.
Watching the soup being prepared is,, to be fair, fairly mesmerising and the staff calling ‘Irasshaimase’ to welcome each new arrival is a great distraction but once the food arrives there’s only one thing to look at – the bowl in front of you.
Seriously, I don’t even know how to explain such a creamy, rich soup with such an incredible depth of flavour. Back in London I like to think I’ve had my fair share of really good ramen but I can’t remember anything as good as this.
So I could write another paragraph or three about it, about the chew of the noodles, the little tokens that you hand in if you order a double-noodle helping or about the melt in the mouth charred and caramelised roasted pork; but I’d be wasting your time because you could spend that five minutes making your way to Prins Hendrikkade and tasting it for yourself.
It’s not the cheapest ramen you’ll ever have. It’s definitely not in the loveliest street and you will almost certainly have to queue for longer than you’d like, but as someone on Google recently said
I’ve been to Japan and this is still the best ramen I’ve ever had.
I’m still thinking about it months later.
I know how she feels.
I went back. This time I had to queue (go straight to the front and place your order on the screen rather than just standing and waiting in line).
There was a Japanese mother and daughter who were just in front of me. As they walked in the staff member said to them “you were here yesterday, weren’t you?” They nodded sheepishly.
As did I.