Creative noodles with starters
|Address||Hazenstraat 19H, 1016 SM Amsterdam|
|Opening Hours||Friday 17:30 – 21:00
Saturday – Sunday 12:00 – 14:00, 17:20 – 21:00
Monday – Thursday: closed
facebook.com/MenImpossible/ (check the newest opening days)
|Reservation||book.easytablebooking.com/book/?id=8530c&lang=en (reservation only)|
For Atsushi Ishida vegan ramen is the means to his grand mission: the eradication of hunger. The sole owner and chef of Men Impossible states: “My interest lies in offering a really delicious vegan meal even carnivores would love. This non-profit social restaurant is designed to cater to that mission, but on top of that our food is also simply delicious.”
Men Impossible is by no means anywhere near an ordinary ramen restaurant. This ramen venture 2.0 features unique creations and reinventions, which are 100% plant-based, using local made-in-Europe ingredients with no additives and offers 99.9% gluten-free options. You can savour it only by reservation to reduce food waste. This results in quite a limitation of ingredients for traditional ramen, but according to Atsushi: “ramen is supposed to be free.” Hence, “impossible noodles” (men, literally noodles in Japanese).
“Today we are so technologically advanced and have food in abundance, actually in excess. Yet there are still people dying from hunger in this world as we speak. I don’t understand why we can ignore that fact. My logical reaction is to tackle the biggest obvious problem in the small way I can as an individual human being. Minimizing carbon footprint and energy consumption indirectly helps to tackle food inequality. And I want to make that as ‘cool’ as people think of Japanese food,” shares Atsushi while kneading the ramen dough.
Back in Japan, Atsushi has worked as a consultant, a broker and a day trader. He made enough money but questioned the meaning of his career. “Most jobs create more harm than good to the world, and they actually don’t need to exist.”
With the birth of his son, the new father got to think about what kind of work would make his little one proud one day. “My conclusion was not a business guy in a suit but physical work, and food creates a direct impact to change the world.”
Atsushi chose ramen as his tool. He loves ramen and eating at different ramen places has always been his passion. A friend of his encouraged him to move to Düsseldorf to work on setting up a new ramen restaurant. It should be an excellent opportunity for his son as well—better education and growing up in the diversity of Europe. The Ishida family moved to Germany and Atsushi worked hard.
Little did he know that six months later he would be coming back to Amsterdam, the city where he had spent one year in as an exchange student twenty years ago. With a colleague from the previous restaurant, he helped set up another ramen place and went on to open his own. Thus came about the transition from working in the financial sector in Japan to doing impossible ramen in Amsterdam.
Their signature dish is the unique mazemen which is a flavour bomb you have never tasted before. The course meal with the vegan Japanese appetizers is highly recommended to set the scene at the communal table of maximum 20 people.
The seemingly stressful one-man operation is the solution he eventually found for zero stress.
“It’s much more stressful to hire and work with someone. If I do it alone, I just have to work hard like crazy. I work from 8 AM to 10 PM, but I don’t have that stress,” says the father of two.
“My dream is to close this place,” he says matter-of-factly. “I want the people to see my social restaurant is a successful and profitable business model. I want to encourage and support them to copy it. If they are successful, my job here is done.”
“Japanese food is booming. But I think the purpose of serving the traditional and the authentic as a mere business opportunity is already old. I believe that Japanese food has the power to serve the world as a tool to do good in this world. I would love to get connected to people who are willing to take risks and doing anything impossible. Because, hey, anything is possible.” Anyone who feels addressed is most welcome to get in touch with Amsterdam’s Mr. Impossible!