Food Businesses

At This Restaurant, Human Interaction Is Discouraged

With its 'low-interaction dining,' food is the focus at Ichiran, a popular chain in Asia that recently expanded to Brooklyn, N.Y.
At This Restaurant, Human Interaction Is Discouraged
Image credit: Ichiran

When was the last time you truly focused on eating? By that I mean, you placed the food in your mouth, chewed and concentrated on the flavors as they hit your taste buds, without any distractions.

I can't recall the last time I ate without doing something else, such as talking to another person or reading something on my phone.

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We all know about the dangers of multitasking, but very rarely do we make an effort to avoid it while we’re eating. Perhaps we should. There are many benefits to meditation, and tuning out our surroundings to focus on food seems like an ideal time to reflect. (Wait, would that be multitasking?)

And now there's a place in New York that aims to help its customers do just that.

Image credit: Ichiran NY | Facebook

Ichiran, which has around 60 locations in Asia, opened a location a few weeks ago in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. The chain is known for “low-interaction dining,” according to The New York Times, which, by the way, serves as its differentiating factor in a city filled with plenty of ramen spots. Patrons at the restaurant sit individually at “flavor concentration booths,” with dividers between them. Customers don't even see the server's face as they place their orders. (To be sure, the restaurant also features a traditional dining room.)

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Part of me loves this no-bullshit approach to a meal. I am an animal. I need sustenance. Do not get between me and my next meal. Let me eat -- and not get distracted by anything else.

Image credit: Ichiran NY | Facebook

Alas, Ichiran only serves pork-bone based soup with its ramen, and I try to avoid eating mammals, so I won't get to try this isolationist eatery.

Then again, maybe I can just lock myself in a closet with my salad during my next lunch break.
Edition: December 2016

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