Dubai: IchiRyu Ramen House celebrates first anniversary

Estimated read time 3 min read

From left: Nicolai, Raul and Karl De Guzman at IchiRyu Ramen House in Dubai.

Dubai’s family-run Japanese restaurant, IchiRyu Ramen House, celebrated its first anniversary with a thanksgiving event on Wednesday (May 22).

The anniversary celebration was attended by its founders, Philippine Consul General Marford Angeles, Vice Consul Jim Jimeno, Philippine Business Council Chairman Edwin Duria and members, as well as media and influencers.

The popular noodle house, owned by three Filipino brothers, has been drawing queues of people since it opened last year at Wasl Port Views Building 7 in the Al Mina neighbourhood. Although ramen is its specialty, IchiRyu serves everything from takoyaki to sushi, to unique iced teas.

Nicolai, Raul and Karl De Guzman described IchiRyu as a labour of love in the culinary scene. “Our older brother, Raul, has a chain of restaurants in the Philippines. He actually doesn’t need to work but he’s really hands-on at this restaurant,” said Karl, who is in charge of restaurant operations.

The Filipino recalls arriving in the UAE in 2006 as “ordinary visit visa holders” with their future in the emirates still “uncertain”. Fast forward to today, he and his brothers find themselves busy running their Dubai restaurant, the first overseas branch of their chain of ramen restaurants in the Philippines.

Speaking to Expat Media, Raul, the oldest of the brothers and the head chef, said setting up IchiRyu in Dubai is a dream come true. The restaurant opened on May 18, 2023 with the collective efforts of the brothers. “I hope we’ll have more branches,” Raul, more popularly known as Chef Touru, tells Expat Media.

“Since I was a teen, it was always my dream to have my own ramen shop. I’ve loved the dish since I first tasted it at a restaurant in Makati,” Chef Touru said.

He credits his father, who worked in Japan, for influencing his taste buds and inspiring the brothers’ passion for Japanese culture. “He loved ramen and shared his love for the dish with us,” Chef Touru told Expat Media.

It didn’t take long for him to immerse himself in the Japanese culture. He spent 16 years in the country and speaks fluent Japanese. While studying there as an electrical engineer, he tried being an apprentice at a ramen shop. After being turned down at several restaurants, he met a Japanese chef who taught him how to make authentic broth. He dedicated years to master the art of ramen-making.

“I hope our story inspires other expatriates to one day start their own business. The most difficult part of it is just taking the first step,” he shares in Filipino.

Nicolai, the youngest of the brothers, prides himself for being the man behind the restaurant’s design and décor. The restaurant is peppered with his own collections of anime figures and characters, including the beloved Astro Boy and Gundam.

He shows Expat Media his interior design work in the restaurant’s hidden dining section with bocchi seki or the Japanese dining concept of “lonely seats” for solo diners. It has proven to be popular with diners in Dubai, he said.

The brothers say expansion plans are in the pipeline, with investors keen to jump in on IchiRyu’s success. Last March, the trio opened their latest venture, Tako Ichiban House in Flayva, Al Ghurair Centre, to bring diners a taste of “authentic Japanese takoyaki” in Dubai. ICA/PIA/Expat Media

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