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Major Ramen craving

For all the great noodle options that we have in the TCs, I'm not sure I've ever come across any contenders in the ramen department. This article in the NY Times reignited a powerful love of the real deal. http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/...

Any ideas? Should I just make it at home?

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  1. Obento-Ya usually has a ramen special, and it's quite good. Moto-i has ramen as well, and respectable food. Ramen seems like something they would do well, given the flavor profiles of their other dishes.

    4 Replies
    1. re: kevin47

      Obento-Ya only has ramen on Mondays; it's roast pork.

      When Moto-i first opened, I loved their ramen; now it's become a flavorless, pasty mess.

      Fuji-Ya (St. Paul location only) has ramen but only for lunch; I have not tried it but have heard good things from others...

      When Tanpopo opened it's original location on Selby Avenue, I was so excited to see their online menu listed ramen; I dashed over there, only to see they had crossed it off of their menu with a big marker - she decided not to offer it...I was devastated!

        1. re: pistachio peas

          Not sure what has changed, but we had wonderful ramen at Moto-i last Monday. Really porky broth, lots of good pieces of delicious meat, egg poached perfectly, noodles really eggy and good but not overcooked. In fact everything was much better than when we'd gone before, about 18 months ago. Take a second look.

          2940 Lyndale Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        2. re: SmartCookie

          Moto-i is not even ramen in my opinion. There are no broth in it at all, and hack of salty

      1. Thanks for the suggestions, all.

        1. The NY Times article was great. I really enjoyed the pork ginger ramen at Obento-ya last summer. I too, love ramen. I've looked at a few recipes as well due to the lack of a ramen shop in the Twin Cities. The ramen recipe in the Momofuku cookbook looks pretty good....

          7 Replies
          1. re: tipitina

            I always thought that with the popularity of noodles & company and chipotle, a good ramen should offering different flavored soups would do well during our cold winters and the cold ramen salad in our summers. The closes city offering ramen shops is probably Chicago. When I get a craving for ramen, I get my fix from United Noodles where towards the back of the wall by the refrigerated/frozen section, there is are some fresh packages of fresh ramen from Myojo and Nishin in miso, soy sauce and salt flavors that you can bring home. Note that unlike US instant ramen, you want to boil the noodles separately, drain and then make up the soup. You can then add any additional meat, veggies and egg slices etc. For $4.99 for a 3 pack, it's a poor substitute for great ramen but it makes for a quick meal that's slightly reminiscent of ramen,

            If any one has any investors looking for a business opportunity, I think a ramen shop serving Japanese ramen with a side of gyoza would be a big hit - particularly in the downtown area as well as around the university.....

            1. re: spahkee

              How great would it be to have Pho trucks in St Paul? Saigon? Ngon? Where are you?

              1. re: Fudist

                I like having my toys to play with when I'm having pho. It's not the most portable dish.

                As for ramen, I think the term has been relegated to the instant noodle dustbin in the foodcourt of American lexicon. I mean, who wants to pay $8 for something that should be 6 for a dollar? Sigh.

                My guess is that if there were a market for it, Obento Ya would offer it on the regular menu.

                1. re: kevin47

                  I get my Pho to go all the time from Ngon and Saigon and all their "Toys" including raw beef fit very well in a nice little bag. Not that big a deal. It's not like I eat it while running down University Ave.

                2. re: Fudist

                  Trung Nam is going to have a food truck this summer! Banh mi for sure, but maybe pho?

                  1. re: Haricotsv2

                    ??? This is good news. Any other details? When they'll be hitting the streets, will they be getting permits in both cities, etc.?

                    1. re: mull0263

                      No, sorry. It was just a brief conversation when I was picking up banh mi a couple of weeks ago.

            2. Just read Jeremy Iggers post on the new Sushi place next to Azia, A25. His review states they do ramen.


              4 Replies
              1. re: MayrMN

                Went to A25 last Saturday to try the ramen:

                RAMEN TOKYO STYLE (large bowl only) nori mushroom + quail eggs tofu, chicken, pulled pork, oxtail or muck duck 9
                steak, shrimp or assortment of seafood 12

                Very yummy (go oxtails!). The noodles weren't ramen, they were slightly thicker and chewier. Not complaining, just an observation.


                1. re: SmartCookie

                  I just saw this thread while commenting on United Noodle (or is it United Noodles) new Ramen. Chef Kosuke (a real Japanese dude) makes this awesome Tonkatsu-based Japanese Ramen for $7 per bowl. It's an Asian grocery store in an industrial complex tucked away across from Coastal Seafood. Hard to find, but you'll be glad when you do. The only crappy thing is the hours. The Deli is closed on Mondays; open from 11am-6pm from Tues-Sat, and 11am-5pm on Sun.

                  Coastal Seafoods
                  74 Snelling Ave S, St Paul, MN 55105

                  United Noodles Asian Supermarket
                  2015 E 24th St, Minneapolis, MN 55404

                  1. re: Mplsfoodie

                    Does he actually make the noodles?


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      I'm not sure... But I actually find the noodles to be the best part of the soup. It's chewy and a bit nutty! Yummy. We have to go back soon!

              2. Maybe try Masu over by Surdyks? I personally don't like their Ramen, but your mileage may vary. I thought the broth was overpowering. Maybe it's supposed to be like that, but to me, a good ramen broth is a bit more subtle. Like the broth at Tanpopo in St. Paul.

                I haven't had Ramen at Obento-ya. I think I know what I'm doing for lunch on Monday.

                2 Replies
                1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                  Fully agree on Masu's ramen. Not only overpowering, but very one-note. I like the place, but not for that.

                  Obento-ya is open for lunch?

                  1. re: kevin47

                    not completely 100% sure about obento-ya's current hours, but they used to open for lunch, then close at 2:30 for a couple hours before opening again for dinner.

                2. Tanpopo is now serving ramen, but only on Mondays. And they only have Shoyu ramen.

                  1. Zen Box Izakaya has ramen on their menu. I can't vouch for it, but it might be worth a try.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: gildeddawn

                      I've had the ramen at Zen Box, and it was just OK. They only offer a kimchee version, and it should be much more spicy. The ramen at Obento-Ya or the UniDeli at United Noodles is much better.

                    2. I think Masu's Tonkotsu Curry ramen is the best ramen in town followed by Moto-i. I still have to try zen box. Try making your own ramen sometime (I have) and you'll respect the difficulty involved. Ive made the momofuku ramen a number of times. In a pinch, the sun brand ramen noodles are united are passable. I've also had ramen at Obento-ya (hit or miss) and united noodle's deli (average). I've yet to try zen box. I'd be interested in trying it at tampopo if they had it.

                      1. I like miso ramen best (esp. with a drizzle of sesame oil--yum!).

                        I also prefer to put lots of my favorite veg. in, stuff that most of the restaurants don't do (or tend to overcook).

                        That's why I used to buy the packages of flavoring and noodles in the refrigerated section at United Noodles, and dress it up Our Way...back when we still ate grains, anyways.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: Enso

                          Just read about this place opening in NE Minneapolis. They will only make Ramen and Japanese curry. It is an attempt at a Japanese Noodle Shop. They will make their own noodles (I don't think Matsu does but not sure).

                          Tonkotsu Ramen and Curry House

                          1. re: Latinpig

                            i just read about them on craigslist

                            "Tonkotsu Ramen and Curry House in Northeast Minneapolis is now accepting resumes for prep and line cooks.

                            We specialize in two things and two things only: Ramen and Japanese curry. No sushi. No Tempura. No Robata.
                            Our goal is to recreate the Japanese "Noodle Houses" found only in Japan and in some American cities right here in Minneapolis!
                            We will be opening on Jan. 2nd, and we are located on 26th Ave NE and Central. We will be open until 3am, 7 nights a week.
                            We are looking for:
                            Prep cooks
                            Line cooks
                            Counter staff
                            Experience in basic Japanese cuisine a plus, but not required.
                            Noodle-maker position is a full-time (40/wk) that does require some knowledge of Ramen noodle-making. Ramen noodle is not like Italian pasta.
                            If interested, please send a resume and 3 references. We are hiring this week!! "

                              1. re: zfwp

                                i saw that on craigslist too and promptly went scouring the area for any sign of a noodle shop. alas, i could not figure out where they were opening.

                                1. re: jbanana

                                  According to Heavy Table, they're going to be at Central Ave and 26th Ave NE.

                                  1. re: bob s

                                    I'm excited about the Japanese Curry; no one serves it in the Twin Cities.

                                    1. re: SmartCookie

                                      I've had J curry once at obento-ya. It was a daily special. In looking at their menu online its the daily special on thursdays.

                                      It was good but I think I make it better hehe:D

                                      I am excited that a shop specializing in it is gonna open. Awesome!!

                            1. Obento-Ya has a Ramen special on Monday nights but also now they have a Nomikai Draft pass every night after 8pm and Ramen is available then too.

                              1. I recently tried the Tonkotsu Ramen at Zen Box Izakaya when they were having it on special, and they were good! White creamy broth and red pickled ginger on top, similar with the Ippudo style.
                                I stubbled across at their FB and they only had that for limited quantities only, so I assume they make their soup in house.

                                1. I had pork ramen at United Noodle today. Broth was delicious, with coconut milk I believe, and Asian greens and bean sprouts complimented the barbecued pork. Noodles were delicious. My only issue was that it had pickled ginger as a garnish, and I really don't like pickled ginger. I'd love to hear others' opinions, as I don't consider myself an expert on ramen (except for the square packages that ar 4 for a dollar, and I gave them up a long time ago ;)

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Haricotsv2

                                    Funny, I was there yesterday having the Tonkatsu, too!

                                    Beni-Shoga (pickled ginger, which is not the same as Gari) is traditionally served with Tonkatsu; I personally like it, as you get different flavors with each bite. To each their own...you can certainly ask them to leave it out.

                                    1. re: SmartCookie

                                      I totally understand what you're saying, as the bites I took that had some were certainly influenced by it. I think for me it's like cilantro (which I love) for some people. I just can't develop a taste for it. It's fun to know we were both there. I wonder if we could all wear Chowhound buttons? (Suppose not!)

                                    2. re: Haricotsv2

                                      Even though it looks it, you won't find coconut milk in tonkotsu ramen broth.

                                      I'm not much of a pickled ginger fan either. Maybe that garnish is meant to liven up the ramen presentation? Everything else in the ramen is all light colored.

                                      1. re: Haricotsv2

                                        Ginger is usually used to cut the rich flavors or "cleanse the palate" of some Japanese cooking. Ramen garnishes usually comprise of the usual suspects of scallions, nori, pickled veg, fish cakes, egg, etc. All vary according to the region and the chef's preference. Ramen has pretty vague boundaries as far as what would be a standard other than broth and noodles. Lucky Peach issue 1 has great articles about ramen and the cult that follows. A must read if you're a ramen fan.

                                        The ramen spot mentioned above in the Northeast is actually opening in the Midtown Global Market around Mar. 30th.

                                      2. Having never eaten Ramen before in my life (the non $0.25 cent packet version), I decided to try the ginger pork house ramen at Obenta-Ya. I was a little underwhelmed. The crispy pork was great, the seawood added a different touch to it. But the noodles and broth were not that different from the Maruchan oriental flavor packet that I would make at home. I didn't notice anything special about this Ramen, other than the fact that I paid $12 ($16 after tax/tip) for it. Also, there was no ginger in it. There were some sesame seeds, which were nice.

                                        I will be trying the monday night ramen at Tanpopo soon. I have low expectations.

                                          1. re: Buttersoy

                                            I'm surprised they left out Moto-i; it's also worth reviewing Origami and United Noodle's deli.