Men Impossible serves no ordinary ramen. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, meat-eater or anything else I think you’ll LOVE these ramen!
Cosy, personal and artisanal
The restaurant is tucked away in the Jordaan. I arrive in a narrow street and notice a small house of which the window says ‘Men Impossible’. I open the door, inside it is warm and cosy, it feels like coming home in your own living room. When I enter I pass the open kitchen on my right, where the owner-chef (and waiter) Akihiro Hara is preparing the food, there is no staff beside him. Usually you walk further toward the shared table and you are welcome to get yourself a drink from the fridge. We talk while he prepares my food.
He tells me he is a ramen specialist with 18 years experience at Ippudo. This is the worlds most famous ramen restaurant brand. During his work at Ippudo, he has eaten over 10,000(!) bowls of ramen. He worked in Osaka, Tokyo, Niigate, Kobe and Fukuoka. He is a flexitarian, like me. He thinks that Amsterdam is one of the most diverse cities in the world and that therefore this is the best place to spread his ramen worldwide. He is convinced that his Japanese-born ramen based in the Netherlands will save the world, as he will explain later.
Tasty, vegan and sustainable
I wonder about the origins of the name of the restaurant, so I ask him about it. Of course, ramen is Japanese noodle soup. The first part ‘Men’, means noodles in Japan. The second part ‘Impossible’ refers to the movie Mission Impossible. As Ethan Hunt does in the movie, Akihito wants to complete a mission, which is making the most delicious ramen. The part that makes the mission almost impossible, is making them vegan. The delicious flavour of ramen is traditionally made with meats such as chicken bones, pork bones, bonito flakes, scallops and so on. If you take all of these meats and dairy products away, what is left of the ramen? So from scratch, using only plant-based ingredients, he aims to make the most delicious ramen relying on his cooking skills and wide knowledge. He is basically inventing a new type of ramen with 100% plant-based ingredients.
Every day he makes fresh noodles, using a special technique. Before, he used spelt flour to make the noodles, but he changed to Japanese wheat flour specialised for ramen to make them fit for take-away and delivery. Ingredients of his ramen are time and patience. Besides that, he uses fresh and tasty European vegetables, such as mushroom, cabbage, leek and garlic. No MSG is used. Also, he wants to minimise his food waste as much as possible, that’s why you can only eat there based on reservations, no walk-ins. This way he can order the exact amount of ingredients he needs that day.
The impossible ramen
I really want to stay in this warm and cosy ambiance chatting with the chef, who is most kind, but I have to take my food home. I can’t wait to get home, unpack the food and dig in. I chose to try the super garlic. These are Mazesoba style noodles; you are supposed to put the sauce on the noodles and mix it before eating. I take a bite. “Awaken the sense of your taste”, that’s what a sign inside said. And wow this is tasty! The thick noodles have a firm bite and the saus that sticks to them is very tasty, I cannot tell the different ingredients apart. The toppings are a perfect addition.
I realise there is more in the bag than just the ramen. Chef Akihiro added a side dish, which consists of five different bites: tofu nuggets, lentil balls, eggplant tempura, friend potato Mochi and Takoyaki. These are all very tasty, interesting bites. Mochi is pounded rice cake. It is a traditional snack in Japan. The chef makes it with potato instead of sticky rice and deep-fries it to give it more of a bite. Takoyaki is another traditional Japanese snack. The shape is like a Dutch ‘poffertje’ or small pancake, but it’s salty and traditionally made with octopus inside (Tako in Japanese), but of course it’s vegan.
So the food is great and I really appreciate the fact that Akihiro is making such a huge effort to make delicious vegan food for us and care for our planet. If you’re into ramen, whether you are vegan or not, into sustainability or not, you should definitely try his! Please leave a like if this was helpful and you want me to do more vegan restaurant reviews in Amsterdam. If you know Men Impossible or you are going to try their ramen, I’m curious what you think so let me know in the comments or @lisalottevanos on Instagram.
Opening hours: thu and fri 12-2 pm, 5-8 pm, sat and sun 12-8 pm
Address: Hazenstraat 19H, 1016 SM, Amsterdam