Nakamura.ke Merges Folklore with the Glowing Edible Treats of Your Dreams

Answering every foodie’s wildest psychedelic dream, the teams from Dashboard and Disco Dining Club are bringing the world’s first glow-in-the-dark ramen shop, Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen to golden ticket holders in Los Angeles in July. Even Willy Wonka would be envious of this mouth-watering optical wonderland.

This one-in-a-lifetime mystical experience features the signature Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen lumen-ramen experience, a pre-ticketed “Omotenashi” VIP dinner and chef experience for up to six at a time and “Tachigui” ramen exterior bar experience for up to nine at a time. All of which will be hosted at the enigmatically iconic Yamashiro restaurant in Hollywood. Yep, your salivating can officially start now.

Having sold out at a record average of 24hrs per city, the Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen is a mobile dining experience showcasing high-end glow-in-the-dark food and cocktails created by award-winning chefs and designers. Unlike a typical bar or club, the Nakamura.ke {House of Nakamura} is a totally immersive dining experience including theatrics, storytelling, art, and folklore, and this time it’s on the side of a mountain. Lucky ticket holders will be presented with gourmet, glowing ramen and cocktails inside and outside a boutique, immersive mobile kitchen made out of a shipping container as they engage with the Nakamura family members to learn the mystery behind the luminescence and the curse that keeps the family moving around the globe. 

The experience is based on family folktale. The Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen is run by the Nakamuras, a family of yokai (spirits). Tale has it, the siblings lost their parents, and reopened the family ramen shop to honor them. The day they opened the shop, the utensils, the food, and the drinks all started to glow. Their parents’ spirit lived on. To this day, the parents’ whereabouts remains a mystery. But fruitless results don’t waver their faith. The Nakamura children and their mobile kitchen have embarked on a lifetime search, chasing after the brightest full moon around the globe in hopes of a reunion with their parents. 

This LA chapter of Nakamura.ke is brought to you by Dashboard and Disco Dining Club and hosted by Yamashiro Hollywood. We caught up with the Dashboard team to try and uncover some of the secrets and mystery behind Nakamura.ke and figure out just what it is that makes the hypnotic ramen glow.

Nakamura.ke is an immersive dining experience based on family folklore. How have you managed to maintain the authenticity of the folklore and its origins in retelling a narrative that took place hundreds of years ago?

The concept of yokai is old, but the narrative is new. It’s folklore sampled from other folklores, a new story remixed of a few olds. We borrow the concept of human-made supernatural creatures used to explain inexplicable natural phenomenon, which is the yokai, and gave ourselves the liberty to create our own yokai family. The objective was to (1) have a good time (2) bring people together and (3) make sense of this madness of a project.

We maintained the authenticity of the story and its origins by inherently controlling our own narrative, by telling it ourselves, by living and reliving it every night. It’s not something that we consciously do or try to, it just is. Just based on how ramen is comfort food and how glow in the dark ramen is such a hard to explain idea, we thought it makes the most sense to subscribe to the yokai as a device to account for everything. From familial kinship, old and new, pilgrimage, ambiguity, to the mystery of it all.

nakamura.ke

Are there any traditional principles in the ramen recipes that have been incorporated into the experience, or is it more of a modern fusion?

Our tonkotsu broth is fundamentally made according to the traditional process. Bones with spices and vegetables left to brew overnight. Chashu is seasoned, marinated and oven-braised for a few hours. The soup is super rich and the aftertaste lingers, so to create balance, we make our noodles a little thicker and firm. If anything’s fused with newness, I would say our meatless ramen that comes with homemade truffle butter pumpkin miso in shiitake broth feels pretty new. This one’s got a clear and pretty, finer aftertaste, but then you’d be wrong if you think it’s mellow, because you can feel all the flavor through the lingering aroma. It’s really a pleasant surprise.

nakamura.ke

Can you tell us more about the science behind the fascinating glow-in-the-dark ramen?

Yes, so the spirit is what makes it glow. Haha jk. No, sorry we can’t tell you – it’s a family secret.

nakamura.ke

The campaign visuals for Nakamura.ke are beautifully horrific and incredibly surreal. What inspired the art direction for these visuals?

It’s really just a literal interpretation of “if yokai can cook, how would they do it.” Initially, Zoo as Zoo thought about showing the process of these yokai making ramen out of themselves, meaning since it’s a whole family, each member should probably be responsible for each ingredient. They should do that by extracting noodles and meat and vegetables and garnishes out of their own flesh. Then during production, it grew into a truly organic collaboration, we just let everyone run with their own interpretation of that brief. Dain Yoon came through with the makeup. Frank Nitty did what he did with the animation.
Everything’s still creepy but much friendlier and less gory than what we imagined. But it all came together perfectly in the end.

nakamura.ke

If there was one song that could be the soundtrack for the Nakamura.ke experience, what would it be?

The whole setting and environment is already so whacky, we try to bring a sense of familiarity for our patrons through music. The entire score for Akira and Ghost in the Shell would be a good start to set the mood. It’s hard to pin down one song, every night the experience is so different, although all the variables stay constant. Even for people working on the ground, the energy shift is quite noticeable. And so we just gauge the energy and play something that reflects it. Some days we play this mixtape of female-fronted Japanese punk bands circa 1980. Some days we play Donna Summer and Prince, mixed with disco and Japanese city pop. Some days when it’s more quiet, we play tracks from the psychedelic funk era, artists like Shintaro Sakamoto and Kim Jung Mi. When it rains, we play the score from Blade Runner and Tron. It depends on how the guests feel and how our kitchen feels, because at the end of the day, it’s servicing and people need to enjoy their food. We can’t just play the string quartets screeching in three movements the whole night and expect everyone to have a good time. The chef hates the psychedelic stuff tho. They love the punk playlist and to have Japanese girls screaming in their face.

nakamura.ke

What factors influenced the decision when sourcing a location for the LA chapter of Nakamura.ke, and ultimately led to choosing the iconic Yamashiro restaurant?

Dashboard and Disco Dining Club hooked up and became fast friends over the discussion of partnering for the LA chapter of Nakamura.ke. Obviously, we all have similar sensibilities when it comes to curating and producing whimsical events that transport guests to another dimension. Disco Dining Club soon connected us to the new bar director of Yamashiro, Billy Ray, who agreed that the picturesque landscape and iconic history of Yamashiro would be the perfect pairing for Nakamura.ke. Without revealing too many details, we can reveal that guests of Nakamura.ke will be guided to areas within Yamashiro never before opened to the public.

There are limited tickets left for the LA experience of Nakamura.ke! Grab your tickets while you can at www.exploretock.com/nakamura-ke/

Subvrtmag

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *