A glow-in-the-dark ramen shop makes food that looks like something out of an alien world

By Zoo as Zoo (Courtesy of Dashboard)Tickets for the pop-up have already sold out.
  • Ami Sueki, the founder of design studio Zoo as Zoo, has teamed up with Courtney Hammond, the co-founder of national arts agency Dashboard, to create the world’s first glow-in-the-dark ramen shop.
  • Nakamura.ke is a mobile pop-up that will offer guests an immersive dining experience inspired by a story about a family of mythical spirits.
  • The shop will seat six diners at a time for one 30-minute meal, during which guests will be served glow-in-the-dark dishes and cocktails as performers interact with them.
  • The luminescent noodles were created by London-based food design firm Bompas and Parr using quinine and natural food colouring.
  • After debuting in Atlanta, Georgia, later this month, Nakamura.ke will head to several other cities including Los Angeles, New York, and Miami, according to Atlanta Magazine.

If you’ve ever wondered what mythical spirits might eat, it probably looks something like the menu at the world’s first glow-in-the-dark ramen shop.

Nakamura.ke, which opens at two locations in Atlanta, Georgia, later this month and in late February, offers guests an immersive dining experience inspired by a dream designer Ami Sueki had three years ago.

Glow in dark ramen photos 3By Zoo as Zoo (Courtesy of Dashboard)The food is inspired by a story about a family of supernatural creatures.

The mobile pop-up tells the story of the Nakamuras, a family of yōkai (supernatural creatures in Japanese folklore) who ran a popular ramen shop for other spirits at the turn of the century.

In the tale, which was created by Sueki’s design studio Zoo as Zoo, the Nakamura children lost their parents in a storm one fateful night. Years later, the children reunited at their family’s old shop, only to discover glowing noodles and vibrating utensils, like someone was trying to show them how to make their parents’ secret ramen recipe.

Now, the Nakamura children chase after full moons around the world – when noodles glow the brightest – making ramen in their mobile kitchen, hoping they will one day reunite with their parents.

Glow in dark ramen photos 4By Zoo as Zoo (Courtesy of Dashboard)The noodles are made with quinine and food colouring.

To bring this story to life, Sueki teamed up with Courtney Hammond, the co-founder of national arts agency Dashboard. Like the Nakamura children’s mobile kitchen, Nakamura.ke will be a small, intimate space, seating six diners at a time for one 30-minute meal. During that period, guests will be served glow-in-the-dark dishes and cocktails as performers interact with them.

Read more: The best ramen shops in America

Sueki also collaborated with London-based food design firm Bompas and Parr to create her pop-up’s luminescent food. According to Atlanta Magazine, the studio’s inventors used quinine, a compound extracted from the bark of cinchona trees that glows under black light, and natural food colouring to make noodles that were both luminescent and safe to eat.

Glow in dark ramen photos 1By Zoo as Zoo (Courtesy of Dashboard)Nakamura.ke will also serve glowing sake cocktails.

Dining tickets for Nakamura.ke’s first two openings in late January and late February, which went for $US75 a seat, have already sold out.

For those curious to see the shop’s luminescent offerings, however, tickets to a party at Space2 in Atlanta will be sold at the door for $US10. The party will be held on Wednesdays through Saturdays from 6 to 11 p.m. for the duration of Nakamura.ke’s debut at the Sound Table, starting January 30 until February 16.

According to Atlanta Magazine, Sueki also has plans to take Nakamura.ke to Los Angeles, London, Miami, New York, Tokyo, and Seoul.

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