On June 15, the very first Ichiran ramen shop opened in Taiwan. People tend to get excited about ramen; that's nothing new. But for more than ten straight days, there was a line that stretched out the door of the restaurant.
That's right: for more than 250 continuous hours, there were people standing outside, mindlessly scrolling through something on their phones while they waited for a seat in the 24-hour restaurant. To put that in perspective, 250 hours is almost long enough to watch every single episode of Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, Sherlock, Downton Abbey, and both the American and British versions of The Office. So yeah, it's a long-ass time.
When Ichiran pushed its doors open for the first time, there were already an estimated 200 people waiting on the sidewalk for one of the restaurant's 60 seats. Even daily temperatures that pushed past 90 degrees weren't enough to deter people from craving a bowl of tonkatsu ramen, the restaurant's single menu item; according to the Hong Kong Economic Journal, between 6 AM and 10 AM, there were usually between 40 and 100 people in line, but between 11 PM and 3 AM, an average of 200 people were willing to wait almost two hours for their late-night fix.
The Journal reports that the previous record for a continuous line outside a restaurant was in Hong Kong in 2013… at the opening of another Ichiran. That line persisted for 196 hours, or just over eight days. Although Ichiran has 60 locations in Japan, its only locations beyond that country's borders are in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Brooklyn. (And when that shop opened last October, there were more than 200 people waiting to welcome it to the neighborhood.)
Although some enchanted writers have called Ichiran "the best ramen in the world," others have already decided that it can't be worth the trouble. "A shameful world record has finally finished," one critic harrumphed, while others called inching forward in an endless line "a bit stupid."
Even if it's not the best in the world, Ichiran has promised its Taiwanese customers the exact same experience that they'd get in one of the restaurant's individual "flavor concentration booths" in Japan. The company has even hired a Noodle Production Specialist—Ichiran's own job description—who relocated to Taipei to "[make] adjustments according to temperature and humidity on a daily basis to produce perfect, made-to-order fresh Ichiran noodles."
Most of us have probably waited in longer lines for less (I'm looking right at you, Bonnaroo port-a-potty). And come on, if the line didn't disappear for ten straight days, then they must be doing something right. Even if it's just one thing.