A good bowl of ramen - Review of Ichiran Harajuku.

Posted by 2018 article


The cult of the New American ramen joint, with its endless wait times and ghostly bowls of tonkotsu broth, has conspired to make the Japanese import feel off-limits to the humble home cook. After all, how could you possibly unlock the mysteries of miso, or crack the secrets of  shoyu,  when true ramen masters have spent years—if not decades—perfecting the dish?

Maybe you can’t, but that’s okay. “Any home cook can make chicken soup,” says David Koon, co-owner of ramen restaurant Chuko .

According to Koon, it’s important to remember that, ultimately, that’s all ramen is: soup with noodles—preferably soulful and well-balanced, but still simple in essence. So, yes, there is plenty of room to nerd out when it comes to the deep truths about ramen. But we’re not going to—not here, not today.

The last time I was in Tokyo, I didn't make it to Rokurinsha , one of Tokyo Ramen Street's most popular restaurants, which is known for its tsukemen, or dipping noodles. This time, however, I vowed not to be denied, and arrived before noon to make sure of it.

By 11am, the line was already wrapped around the restaurant and up the steps across the hall, but it moved quickly. To expedite matters, a staffer gave me a laminated menu of ramen choices to ready me for the ticket machine ahead. After pondering the Ajitama Tsukemen (950 yen, almost $10)—Rokurinsha's original ramen with a flavored, boiled egg—I went with the "special recommendation" of Tokusei Tsukemen (1,050 yen, almost $11) which comes with the addition of buta hogushi (shredded pork).

I barely had time to tie on my paper apron (necessary in case of soup spillage and oil sprays) before the bowls arrived. In one bowl, there were noodles thicker and wider than any I'd seen at other ramen joints, save, perhaps, for the ones at Nagi Golden Gai, where I ate terrifically bitter ramen last year . There was also an egg, which comes whole and contains a brilliantly golden yolk.

The dish consists, traditionally, of Chinese wheat noodle (ramen, itself, is thought to have been brought over to Japan from China just before World War I), and a fatty pork-based broth. Over the years, many variations on this simple dish have emerged, and in 1958, Momofuku Ando created instant ramen—a staple of college dorms ever since.

Following World War II, ramen flourished in Japan due to an abundance of cheap flour imported both from China and the United States. It then made its way to California, where L.A.'s deep-seated Japanese-American community introduced it to a wider American audience.

Today, Los Angeles has some of the most impressive bowls of ramen around (including both imported shops and home-grown noodle slingers). Here are our picks for the eight best bowls of ramen in L.A.

The cult of the New American ramen joint, with its endless wait times and ghostly bowls of tonkotsu broth, has conspired to make the Japanese import feel off-limits to the humble home cook. After all, how could you possibly unlock the mysteries of miso, or crack the secrets of  shoyu,  when true ramen masters have spent years—if not decades—perfecting the dish?

Maybe you can’t, but that’s okay. “Any home cook can make chicken soup,” says David Koon, co-owner of ramen restaurant Chuko .

According to Koon, it’s important to remember that, ultimately, that’s all ramen is: soup with noodles—preferably soulful and well-balanced, but still simple in essence. So, yes, there is plenty of room to nerd out when it comes to the deep truths about ramen. But we’re not going to—not here, not today.

The cult of the New American ramen joint, with its endless wait times and ghostly bowls of tonkotsu broth, has conspired to make the Japanese import feel off-limits to the humble home cook. After all, how could you possibly unlock the mysteries of miso, or crack the secrets of  shoyu,  when true ramen masters have spent years—if not decades—perfecting the dish?

Maybe you can’t, but that’s okay. “Any home cook can make chicken soup,” says David Koon, co-owner of ramen restaurant Chuko .

According to Koon, it’s important to remember that, ultimately, that’s all ramen is: soup with noodles—preferably soulful and well-balanced, but still simple in essence. So, yes, there is plenty of room to nerd out when it comes to the deep truths about ramen. But we’re not going to—not here, not today.

The last time I was in Tokyo, I didn't make it to Rokurinsha , one of Tokyo Ramen Street's most popular restaurants, which is known for its tsukemen, or dipping noodles. This time, however, I vowed not to be denied, and arrived before noon to make sure of it.

By 11am, the line was already wrapped around the restaurant and up the steps across the hall, but it moved quickly. To expedite matters, a staffer gave me a laminated menu of ramen choices to ready me for the ticket machine ahead. After pondering the Ajitama Tsukemen (950 yen, almost $10)—Rokurinsha's original ramen with a flavored, boiled egg—I went with the "special recommendation" of Tokusei Tsukemen (1,050 yen, almost $11) which comes with the addition of buta hogushi (shredded pork).

I barely had time to tie on my paper apron (necessary in case of soup spillage and oil sprays) before the bowls arrived. In one bowl, there were noodles thicker and wider than any I'd seen at other ramen joints, save, perhaps, for the ones at Nagi Golden Gai, where I ate terrifically bitter ramen last year . There was also an egg, which comes whole and contains a brilliantly golden yolk.



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The Complete Guide to Making Ramen at Home | First We Feast

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