Are you ready for a unique way to eat ramen? Think about a ramen place with a drive-thru! Yes, you did read that right. I recently drove two hours to Tucson to see Kiwami Ramen because I wanted to learn more about this new company. Ramen and a drive-thru sounded like an odd mix, so I was interested to find out what everyone was so excited about. I had no idea that my trip would lead to a viral TikTok movie and a cool experience that made me want more.
As of this blog post, 1.2 million people have watched my AZFOODGUY TikTok.
As I walked up to the ramen shop, I noticed that it had a simple drive-thru. In contrast to most ramen restaurants, this one did not require customers to sit down inside. To my surprise, I could order anything from the ramen menu at the drive-thru. I couldn't help but record the moment, so I filmed myself making my buy and put the video on TikTok. I had no idea that this simple act would get a million views in just three days.
I could see how useful the app was. It looks for new ideas and interesting topics, and what it comes up with is better than expected. TikTok's algorithm is based on user hobbies, so you can reach a huge number of people. This is different from Instagram, where your target audience may be easier to guess based on the number of people who follow you. It made me understand that things made for TikTok need to be interesting to a wide range of people in order to have an effect on its viewers.
But enough about the digital universe; let's talk about the ramen. Drive-thru ramen came in simple but effective packing. The bowl and lid were separate, with the noodles waiting in the lid and the broth in the bowl. When you're in the mood to treat yourself, all you need is a quick removal.
When I walked into the restaurant, I saw a scene that took me right to Japan. In the middle of the room was a beautiful tree that looked like a bonsai and was surrounded by naturally beautiful wood. The tree was also made of wood, but it didn't look anything like a real tree. In the background, traditional Japanese hit music played, which made the scene feel more real. Around the bar were brightly colored dishes that showed off the skill of the ramen cooks who worked hard to make each bowl.
I was able to try many of their well-known ramen recipes. The tonkotsu ramen with black garlic oil was so tasty that every bite made me want more. In contrast, the curry ramen was good, but it had too much spice for me. Even though it wasn't as thick as I expected a curry to be, it had a great taste.
To try more kinds of ramen, I also tried the tsukemen ramen, which was even better than I had hoped for in Arizona. Even though there aren't many tsukemen ramen options in the area, this one from Kiwami Ramen stood out. Its strong taste and nice dipping experience were enough to make any ramen fan's heart beat faster.
If the ramen wasn't enough to get you in, the place also had a variety of tasty alternatives. I was surprised by how the vegan ramen tasted because it didn't taste like other veggie foods. I don't eat a lot of veggie food, so this is a bit of a change for me! The bright green noodles made the whole thing more fun. I also couldn't say no to the poke ramen, which had raw fish on green noodles. Putting the thin noodles in the sesame sauce was a culinary adventure all on its own.
From takoyaki to soft shell crab bao, the starters were all great. The bun stood out because it was big and because it had a full fried crab inside. Even after I was done with my ramen, I wanted more because of how good it tasted and how crunchy it was. Even though the drive-thru was interesting because it was different, I couldn't help but think that eating inside the restaurant was the real point. The setting, the sight of the cooks making each dish like a master, and the smell of the soup boiling could not be recreated in a car. Even though everyone seemed to love the drive-thru choice, I liked the realness of a hard plastic or ceramic bowl filled with the freshest soup and ramen straight from the kitchen.
I couldn't help but wonder if this was a thing in Japan, which is where ramen came from. I'm sure there are ramen places with drive-thrus in Japan, but I've never seen one. Still, this one-of-a-kind event showed me that when it comes to creative cooking, anything goes. In Japan, machines give out bowls of hot ramen when they are asked for.
When my TikTok video got more than a million views, I was amazed by the power of social media. It's crazy how much attention a simple video of me buying ramen at a drive-thru can get. It was a lesson that sometimes the things that happen to us when we least expect them become the most memorable parts of our lives, touching people in ways we could never have imagined.
When I went to the drive-thru ramen place Kiwami Ramen in Tucson, I felt a mix of great things. The restaurant's atmosphere and smells drew me in, but the combination of ease and good food at the dine-in and drive-thru windows stole the show. Whether it was the rich and flavorful tonkotsu ramen, the odd curry ramen, or the amazing variety of canapés, each taste was a testament to the cooks' hard work and creativity.
Join our recommendation guide to receive the top 5 restaurant recommendations of the month. You're information will not be shared.