Japanese ramen noodle soup
- EBooks Mar 6, 2006 12:23 AM
I'm craving wonderful ramen soup like I've had in Japan - the fresh stuff, not the kind in a bag or a box. Can anyone recommend a restaurant around Portland that serves ramen?
You can get ramen noodle soup at Tony Bento's on SE 37th off of Hawthorne. It's inexpensive and pretty decent. I have never been to Japan so I cannot compare, but it is a definite step up from the packaged stuff. I think if you look into some of the Japanese restaurants in town, you'll find ramen on their menus too. Maybe some place like Sinju (503) 223-6535 or Murata (503) 227-0080 might carry it as well. Good luck!
The short answer is no.
In Portland, sure, there is ramen that is passable. Koji Okasaya, downtown on SW Broadway near Alder has decent ramen. I mean, I eat it sometimes. It's good food. But it is nothing - nothing - like what you had in Japan.
Ramen is a holy grail to me. Whenever I go to NYC I'm sure to make at lease one meal stop at Rai Rai Ken, for authentic ramen. I just got back from Vancouver, BC, where I had real ramen on Denman just off Robson. They make their own noodles, it was absolutely heavenly.
But in Portland, no. There's ramen that's worth eating, but compared to Japanese ramen, it's all disappointing. If anyone can prove me wrong, I'll treat you to a bowl and all of my gratitude. But I've looked hard, and they've all fallen short.
I will say this: I have not yet tried Syun or Sin Ju in the Pearl.
Please let me know if you find any different!
Thanks, Josh! I'm thrilled to find another ramen enthusiast. :) Neither Sinju nor Syun have ramen on their menu, thought I'll ask the next time I'm out at Syun - they have the most authentic Japanese food I've found in the area. Syun is wonderful. One caveat however, if you're a sushi eater, is that their nigiri is still awfully large (as seems to be the trend in Portland). I asked the sushi chef about the portion size and he agreed that the pieces were quite large, but made to suit American tastes. We joked about that and agreed it would never be so in Japan. I'm hoping that if we become regulars he'll make the sushi Japanese style for us.
I'll try your recommendations when I'm having a serious craving. Do you have any good recipes for making ramen at home?
The only place that I will go to eat ramen in the Portland Metro area is Yuzu in Beaverton. They do not speak much English and last time I was there we barely got in due to a high number of reservations. You may want to call first to reserve a spot. I am from CA and have been unsuccessful at finding decent ramen in the Portland area with the exception of Yuzu. Their hours are odd, 6pm-12am, and I was told it was because all the Japanese chefs like to eat there when they are off work. 4130 Southwest 117th Avenue # H, Beaverton, OR 97005; (503) 350-1801.
This is more of a lead than a recommendation, but I ate at the place on NE Broadway (the old Cadillac Cafe location) that started out as Blowfish and then changed to Pufferfish and I can't remember what the heck they're called now. :^) But at the time I ate there they had various ramens on the lunch menu which I unfortunately haven't had the chance to get back and try.
I was introduced to good yakisoba and ramen at the Port Maru chain in Orange County and wish I could find anything close to that good up here...
I haven't tried it, but people I know have been enjoying Mirakutei, Hiroshis place on E Burnside.
How about making your own Ramen Noodle Soup?
You know I love that line in the the Movie, EAT LOVE PRAY, "the best place in town to is my place!" Yeah make it your self...
I was inspired to do this myself after watching such movies as an old Japanese Movie called Tompano, and the more recent movie Ramen Girl... Ha, I like food and I like movies... I like movies with food as the stars...
So I tried some stuff, and you know what I found out? The best place for Ramen is my place. OMG, I am not kidding it takes me two days to make this stuff so I make a huge pot of soup and reheat and eat it for a week or so till I have slurrrrrped every last drop.
Here I will share with you about my journey to Ramen Mecca...
Okay, you need to make a really good stock.
I love Beef, so I make my beef stock with Oaxacan ox tails, I reserve the gelatanous meat for some tasty potstickers I make by mixing the shredded meat with some pork, garlic and onion and a touch of sweet red tai chili sauce.
Okay back to the broth, Ox tail broth makes a very rich beef flavored stock... I brown in a pan the oxtails in the oven under high broiler heat to get a quick roasted flavored before adding to the water. I start the water with the the classic of trio of onions, celery and carrots, but also add a lot of mushrooms and toasted garlic, ginger root and sonme herbs like Thyme. I then add the browned oxtails and boil down to a very rich and concentrated stock. I defat, and strain. while it all cools and then has a overnight stay in the fridge. I prepare a very nice Chuck Roast in my smoker. I char a nice cross hatch on the roast, and then move to the smoky low side of my smoker and just weep out the fat slow and easy, and infuse the smoke into this meat cooking low and slow, for a bit of time till tender, tender, I wrap it in saram wrap to let it rest and cool and in the fridge it goes and I don't loose a drop of the roasts juices and it reconstitues into the meat.
I prepare homemade noodles just simple seven eggs in semolina flour, salt, olive oil and a touch of water. I crank them out in the angel hair setting of my pasta maker, weaving them in and out to make the traditional ramen brick dusting each folded layer with a touch of flour. The noodle bricks then sit and rest to dry a bit. I then pan-fry the noodle bricks on both sides giving a slight crispy light golden brown... then set aside wrapped for the next day for soup.
Okay Soup day, I start with all new veggies, I wok up a very quick stir fry of onions, green onions, mushrooms, celery, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, whatever you want. I make ahead a few hard boiled eggs and slice. Toast up some garlic chips, make some extremely fine threads of ginger, lemon grass, prepare some fresh herbs like cilantro or mint, rosemary and or thyme. Slice up your beef from the Smoked Chuck roast as you like it, I go 1/16 to a 1/8 inch across the grain for max soup penetration but a touch of that char. Prepare any other items for toppings, Daichon, shrimp, orange segements, cucumbers, peas, whatever man, just huury the stomach is growling for the slurp.... Get that soup a boiling.... Get those noodle boiling in separate clean fresh water and once the noodles are added to the boiling water then add your salt, to the water... Man you better be ready because just like in Japan this all goes fast no time to dali you have to have all your ingredients ready... Okay watch those noodles they are fresh and will cook freaking fast maybe 3-4 minutes get that broth to a rolling boil and skim any foam off... okay get those bowls up close and ready... What... come on you gotta be sharing this with friends do not eat this alone, you made all this to impress your very best friends but you are the one that is going to be amazed you worked hard and it is all going to climax with one incredible slurp, a facial of steam and sweet KUNG PAO event of tastiness... pour your broth, lay in your noodle brick, place your small veggies and background veggies first, come on its art your working a master piece, use your head, place your veggies in layers fanning out in the bowl, beef slices in one corner and just off the beef the egg slices step off, a few srimp aristically curl at the bottom, herbs and spring onion slices fly and land a drizzle of soy sauce, a drizzle of hot sauce, a drizzle of red tai chilli sauce, garlic chips dance with red pepper flake, bean sprouts fall to one side... OMG you turn and serve the bowls one after another, and by the time you spin to the table to sit down your light headed, week in the knees, sweating, and your emotions wring out like a sponge dewey eyes meet steam your tears of happiness fall into your soup. All you hear is the slurping of your friends whom you join in only the communication of silent savour... Quiet euphoric delight and a glow eminates around the table from the love you and all your friends are ingesting and you know this is Ramen. Ramen a Spiritual Zen of holy gastronomic religion Eat, Pray, and LOVE enjoy.
Brettley, Good post. Right on. I agree with all of that. Broth soup at home is fun to share especially on a cold day. I usually get hot seasoned broth ready and slowly pour a couple beaten eggs where they cook instantly as stir to make a quick egg drop soup. Can make a quick inexpensive salty broth with the Ramen packets in water fine strips of carrot, daikon, napa cabbage outer leaves sliced thin, green onion, fresh mushrooms, & ginger or whatever is in the fridge. Home made or canned broth makes great egg drop soup like: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/restaura...
Right smaki... adventurous explorations in the kitchen frontirs I love it... My next great adventure in Ramen is to make a great seafood version soup, I want to make a great fish stock with shell fish and a tuna head or some great saltwater carcass... and make a really clean and strained broth... cook to perfection various seafood and fresh water fish with veggies for a glorious ssssssslurp of "Surf Ramen" yeah that is what I will call it... Surf.
In most of Japan and Asia the Pork Broth is all the rage, I am very partial to my rich dark Beef Broth with the smoky chuck steak slices... But I am going to attempt to make some real good pork ramen.
Here are some other great mix ins I forgot to mention that I have added to my bowls:
Fried tofu... yeah cut into 1/2" blocks fry and add them they are like crispy spongy croutons, and soak up broth in your mouth...
Fresh tofu strips
Fried salt pork.... Nom nom nom, omg yes... Fry some cubed salt pork and damn...
Ham fresh, fried, you choose.
I LOVE MUSHROOMS ... slice or quartered sauteed and I love variety of different mushrooms especially wood ear and shitake, and enoki when they can be found.
Try a huge 2-3 thin sliced prtabella for presentation yep one Portabella giant ought to be good for about 8 bowls sliced at about 3/16" 2 slices or 3 per bowl...
Believe it or not tomato grapes are juicy surprises
Fried chicken skin... are you kidding get out of town its the cock a doodle doo of bacon...
Nori seaweed strips..
OH oh, oh, yopu gotta try a sous vide style poached egg
Sirrachi or any favorite hot sauce, or a sweet sauce... How about WASABI
Oh and please consider dropping in potstickers, dumplings, and or wontons...
Fried pork skin
Cheecharons... fried pork skin...
fried pineapple, batter fried pineapple, uhhhh yeah I said it fried natures sugar, freaking insanely special...
Yeah WE need some Huge bowls, right right...