What a time to be alive! 2019 has just started, and we already have some glow-in-the-dark ramen to look forward to! Admittedly, it’s currently only based in the US, but it’ll also be touring the globe, which we will talk about more later on. If you’re torn between incredulity and curiosity at this shiny food, you’re not alone. Read on to find out more!
Dreams Do Come True… Literally
We’re saying this because the idea for creating luminescent food came to creator Ami Sueki in a dream – those that happen when you sleep. Even though it took three years before it came into fruition, but still! It’s a pretty inspirational story, IMO. Previously an industrial designer for Coca-Cola, Sueki is now the founder of Zoo as Zoo, a design studio. She didn’t give up on this dream, and subsequently brought it up with Courtney Hammond, cofounder of national arts agency Dashboard. Courtney was immediately reeled in by the idea, and from there the idea for lit-up food snowballed into a greater plan.
Story & Folklore
As the world’s very first glow-in-the-dark ramen shop, Nakamura.ke is based on Japanese folklore, and like we mentioned, a dream. This is what happened in the dream. The Nakamuras were a family of yōkai (a class of supernatural beings in Japanese folklore) that traded in ramen, which was extremely popular for other spirits. As fate would have it, a storm struck and the Nakamura parents went missing. Without someone to spearhead the shop, it had to be closed down indefinitely, and the seven Nakamura children went their separate ways. Years later, the children reunited at the old shop to commemorate their parents. Suddenly, the stove turned on by itself. Produce glowed. Utensils vibrated. It was as if the shop was alive, celebrating their return and beckoning them to carry on the legacy of their family ramen again. It was an offer the children could not refuse. Even though they still have yet to find their parents, they now chase the full moon around the world, when the noodles glow the brightest, hoping to find their parents one day.
If I had this dream, I’d have made it into a book, no doubt. However, everyone is different, and Seek decided to replicate these shiny noodles in real life with the help of Hammond and Bompass and Parr. Bompass and Parr is a food-design firm in London, and they have managed to create safe and luminescent food after undergoing several tests incorporating different ingredients. Finally, they found quinine and natural food colouring made a suitable combination to allow food to glow. Quinine is a compound extracted from the bark of cinchona trees that glows under black light. With food colouring, food is colourful, and quinine adds in the glow factor! It’s also safe to eat, so don’t worry that you’ll be entering the spirit world if you eat too much of this.
Where, What, & How to Eat?
Currently, it is only available in Atlanta as a pop-up, but there are plans to also set foot in Los Angeles, London, Miami, New York, Tokyo, Seoul, Sydney, and Dubai. No word about whether it’ll be coming to Singapore/Malaysia, but we’ll keep an eye out for that. Guests are treated to an immersive dining experience with mythical backdrops, each lasting for 30 minutes, and accommodating six people at once. While dining, there are ongoing performances, further luring you into the world of Japanese myth and story. We imagine that it would be like dining in an otherworld. However, it’s not just the dining, you can stay behind for a party to explore more and enjoy drinks. Not only will ramen be served, but there are a variety of cocktails, and some dumplings as well!
If you’ll be in the US from now till 2nd of March, drop by Space2 or Paris on Ponce to try your luck – tickets have already sold out at this point, but you can try for the party. Otherwise, just keep an eye out for their global tour schedule. What do you think? Would you try this glow-in-the-dark ramen? Let us know in the comments below!