There’s hype, a lot of hype, actually, in this little ramen restaurant located in Jamsil. Known for its maze soba (or, “mixed noodles”) dishes, a lesser-known variation of soupless ramen, Menya Hanabi usually requires a diligent wait up to an hour. Here, like some of the hole-in-the-wall type ramen joints in Japan, you place your order using a ticket vending machine. The 2 most popular dishes are the Nagoya Maze Soba (9,000 won) and Doniku Nagoya Maze Soba (12,000 won), with the difference being the type of meat that goes on top of the noodles: Nagoya Maze Soba has sautéed ground beef and pork, while the Doniku Nagoya Maze Soba has juicy chunks of pork. Aside from the meat, there’s ground garlic, chives, chopped scallions and seaweed topped with a raw egg yolk. With the different ingredients mixed with thick noodles and sauce, they make for a hearty meal and a fitting cold-weather treat, even without any broth. The noodles made with whole wheat flour are just chewy enough, while the sauce has a good amount of savory layers to it. Mind you though—when compared to the Nagoya Maze, the Doniku Nagoya Maze tastes more generic and much less flavorful. Considering the fact that it’s the most popular item here with only 30 bowls available each day, such lack of character is quite baffling. The soft-boiled egg and mildly pickled bamboo shoot (which we ordered as an extra topping, fortunately), were complimenting, though. Overall, the flavors of each dish are surprisingly familiar, and in this case, unfortunately, it’s not a compliment—given the lack of any unique topping, which is another element distinguishing the maze style, the wait that this restaurant usually requires feels almost like a means- to-an end-type situation.