In recent years, there have been more options for halal Japanese food in Tokyo! From halal ramen to Japanese curry, we love them all ? But recently, one halal restaurant - Shinjuku Gyoen Ramen Ouka has ceased operations after more than 5 years ?
The eatery posted its last photo on Instagram in October and stated that it has decided to close due to intimidation by several parties towards its staff. The eatery also stated that it will not reopen so as it does not want its staff or customers to be in danger. You can read all about it on their Instagram post and website.
A favourite spot among Muslim travellers
Credit: HHWT contributor, Wani
Located near the bustling district of Shinjuku, Ramen Ouka is a popular haunt for Muslim travellers in Tokyo as long queues would always be seen outside the cozy eatery.
P.S. Dreaming about Japan already? Bookmark our ultimate guide to Muslim-friendly Japanese food in Tokyo for your future trip!
One thing that most travellers will remember is the warm hospitality of the owners and staff at Ramen Ouka. The owner will frequently make small talk with its customers, asking them about their day and so on. One of our writers, Tiara recalls her visit to the eatery during her trip to Tokyo with her mom in 2017, "While we were eating, the owner of the shop would come over and talk to us. She told me about how the shop started and even taught me how to eat ramen properly."
Unique ramen experience
The most popular set menu at Ramen Ouka is none other than its Ramen Gozen Set, which includes a bowl of ramen, rice as well as sides like an onsen egg, tsukune (chicken meatballs) and grilled chicken.
Personally, I've been to Shinjuku Gyoen Ramen Ouka thrice - twice during my solo trip to Tokyo in 2016 and another time in 2017. One of the things I love about the eatery was its ambience as you'd be able to see the Chef prepare the ramen right in front of you. Not to mention that the ramen set menu was complete with appetisers, sides and even complimentary tea to cleanse your palate after the meal.
The most interesting part for me was the ochazuke, where you will add the rice to the leftover ramen soup. It was a super comforting feeling to savour the ramen broth and rice!
P.S. Our contributor, Wani, also shared with us her experience at Shinjuku Gyoen Ramen Ouka. Read about it here.
While the closing of Shinjuku Gyoen Ramen Ouka is sad news, the staff have expressed their thanks to customers all over the world on their Instagram and official website. One hopeful thing is this message from the eatery:
"We now have wonderful Muslim partners overseas who also want to join our business. We will put in our best efforts to open Shinjukugyoen Ramen Ouka in other countries."
Here's hoping that they'll be able to franchise their store overseas so that Muslim travellers can enjoy their mouthwatering ramen once again!