The Noodle Guy: Reviews, Recipes, and Experiences in the SF Bay

Vernon over at The Noodle Guy contacted me this weekend and when I got back to civilization, I checked it out. The site has been up for a couple months now and seems to be going strong with lots of reviews of the numerous SF bay area noodle shops and restaurants that serve noodle dishes. I imagine he could eat at one a day and never finish this site. Living here in Northern Colorado, we don’t have quite the selection that he does, so I’m enjoying his reviews vicariously. If you live in the Bay Area or are visiting (like I am in May) then you should definitely check out his site.

The site also has noodle recipes, many of which require a visit to an Asian grocery store (also a challenge for me). This one for Vietnamese Garlic Noodle – Thanh Long Style looks good and has a surprise ingredient that I don’t think is part of traditional Vietnamese cooking; a French influence perhaps?

Making Ramen at Home

Although most of us just cook instant ramen, it is possible to make real ramen at home. This article from the Huffington Post has some good hints and links to recipes.

Later on in the story, there’s a description of four types of ramen:

Shio ramen is the subtlest form with a clear, light-bodied salty chicken broth. Sometimes fish or pork are included.

Shoyu ramen is soy sauce flavored and made with a chicken and vegetable broth base. Sometimes fish or beef are included.

Tonkotsu ramen is rich and pork based, almost milky white in color.

Miso ramen is rich in flavor from miso paste — it also comes in a spicy version that’s topped with spicy bean paste. The broth can be a combination of chicken, fish and/or pork.

Tonkotsu ramen is my favorite kind.

The Top Ten Instant Noodles In The World According to the Ramen Rater

Hans Lienesch, aka The Ramen Rater, is well qualified to make this list, the Top 10 Instant Noodles in the World. Hans eats ramen more often than me and so I trust his judgement.

Hans says:

Over 30 years later and having officially sampled over 650 different unique varieties, I’ve come up with a list of my favorites. It changes from time to time as I find new varieties to enjoy, but here it is as it stands currently.

Read the full list here.

Personally I’ve tried #7 – Nong Shim Black, #4 Sapporo Ichiban, Japanese Style Noodles Chow Mein, and #8 Sapporo Ichiban Shio Ramen on this list and they were excellent. I do like the Nong Shim Black the best of those three. Has anyone else tried these?

The Fanciest Ramen I’ve Ever Seen

The Houston Chronicle has a story about Soma Sushi, a Houston area restaurant, which serves foie gras ramen topped with shaved Perigord truffles. I’m sure you could try to come up with a more expensive and ‘fancy’ sounding ramen, but it would be a challenge. How about caviar ramen with gold leaf? Although I’d probably never eat it the foie gras ramen, the pork ramen pictured in the story looks awesome.

24 Hours of Ramen

The Seattle Weekly has an interesting take on going through 24 hours and eating ramen with every meal and for every snack. I’m on board with some of these, including the breakfast burrito and the salad (which I’ve tried), but I don’t know about the dessert. The dinner idea looks awesome, it’s basically a Shepherd’s pie, and I may just try that the next time my vegetarian wife leaves town. Here’s a sample from the article with the dinner recipe:

Dinner: Ramen Beef Pie

Now that work is over, you can finally go home and enjoy a nice, giant helping of ramen beef pie. It’s like Shepard’s Pie or Pâté Chinois, a dish they serve in Canada, only ramen style.

1. 2 packages of ramen noodles
2. 1 lb of ground beef
3. 1 can of sweet corn
4. 1/2 c of onion
5. vegetable oil

Cook the ramen noodles in a pot for 3 min. Chop the onions, and in a separate pan, heat the onions and brown the ground beef until fully cooked. Then dump it all into a casserole dish, layer the sweet corn on top of that, top it with ramen noodles, and bake in the oven for 10-15 min. You won’t be disappointed.

Full Story Here

Momofuku Noodle Bar Chef David Chang’s New iPad App

Most ramen fans cannot afford an iPad, unless you are forced to eat ramen because you bought one, but for those of you with an iPad, check out this new app from Momofuku Noodle Bar chef David Chang.

…the first app will present an interactive bowl of ramen from his Momofuku Noodle Bar. Clicking the ingredients in the image will reveal about 35 videos, 50 recipes, graphics and other elements.

“We thought the ramen was the best thing to start with,” he said. “Within that soup there’s so many things. We wanted to see how far we could go down that rabbit hole.”

The ramen app will include a tour of a ramen factory in Japan; an interview with Allan Benton, the Tennessee smokehouse master whose bacon is used in the broth; a consultation with Harvard food scientists about Mr. Chang’s efforts to make a pork-based variant of dashi; a talk by Harold McGee (green-screened into outer space) on hot broth’s effects on noodles; and a scrollable time line tracing the rise of ramen in Japan over the last century. There will also be appearances by Wylie Dufresne, Charlie Rose and Anthony Bourdain, and plenty of cooking demonstrations.

Full Story

Customizable Ramen in Yokohama

Customizable ramen: This is a great idea. I could combine spicy beef ramen, soy sauce, green onions, and sriracha.

A shop inside a ramen museum is offering visitors an unusual souvenir: custom ramen kits.

The shop allows fans of the noodles to choose their own ramen ingredients from among more than 5,000 combinations and take the packages home with them in unique presentation boxes.

They also have the option of having their names and photographs printed on the finished product, which costs about ¥750.

(That’s about $9)

Shop staff also give visitors a 20-minute interactive lesson on how to better enjoy the noodles, along with a free tasting.

I can’t imagine what you could learn in a 20 minute ramen eating lesson, but obviously I need to start a consulting firm.

PS – Can anyone find the link to “My Ramen Kitchen”? I cannot find it.