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Dec 31, 2011 09:34 AM

Eating the Big Apple

Just returned from a short trip to New York City.Once again floored by the beer ,wine and food.They can't even make a descent french fry.Momofuku is a head scratcher.Why would you line up and wait for a bowl of "instant noodles" aka ramen?

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    1. There are plenty of places that make excellent fries; however, each person's preference is different (shoestring, steak, crinkle, curly, etc) and you may have simply gone to the wrong places. Where did you go? What was wrong with the fries?

      Best French Fries

      As for Momofuku Noodle Bar, I assume you didn't have the pork buns. What did you order?

      It is also disingenuous to call ramen simply instant noodles. REAL ramen is far removed from the $1 dry noodles you see at the supermarket.

      Momofuku Noodle Bar
      171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

      1. It would be helpful if the OP offered more specifics, like where did he or she have bad fries and what was wrong with them? What was the problem with beer and wine? Just in the spirit of offering intel to other users . . .

        1. My reference to french fries wasn't to be taken too seriously but if I must,Katz's,Nathan's,5 Napkin Burger....The distance between real ramen and instant noodles isn't as great as you think but the distance between ramen in Korea and Momofuku is real far.

          Katz's Delicatessen
          205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

          Five Napkin Burger
          630 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10036

          8 Replies
          1. re: Lolaray

            As a rule I have given up on eating Korean food anywhere but Korea, simply because anywhere else I have had it, including new york, has just been pale compared. Same goes for Thai, but ramen can be found that is good here though I only know of the shops in a Japanese manifestion, not Korean. I am sure there may be some noteworthy places for Korean noodle.

            The only ramen place I go to, the only, is one that has been there a long time and Japan owned, called Sapporo 152 49th street. Been there for decades, and in the 1980s before Japanese food became really popular. "Sapporo, though it has all the charm of an office cubicle, serves the best goma (sesame) ramen in the city. "-

            New York Times: Here Comes Ramen, the Slurp Heard Round the World



            Fries? Plenty of places offer fresh cut potato fries. Search. And maybe visit the web before you go dining for good ideas, though your critique may be handy for some.

            Ramen actually comes from the Chinese and it is 拉面 la mian. The sound is in Japanese for this is just a japan based phonetic. Similar to Cha 茶 or tea, which is the same in Korea Japan and China though sounding different due to phonetics.

            I found the Japanese for 拉面 (la mian) and it is this: ラーメン (phonetics is 'ramen‘)but I can't read it. Often on the Japanse and Korean instant noodles they use Chinese characters for La Mian. Here is an article of japanese with the words la mian 拉面 though with traditional characters: ラーメン(拉麺)ランキング [食べログ]

            La 拉 simply means to pull, like 拉门 pull the door.

            Searching ラーメン (ramen) and using the words 'NYC' came up with a Japanese blog, mentioning Ajisen Noodles Shop:

            Ajisen is actually a chain I found out:

            If you want Korean noodles find Korean write ups for shops in NYC. They are probably the best judges.

            This list might come in handy:


            and Time Out:


            A friend of mine who lived in Japan goes to this Ramen place on 10th east side. I have been there and the Japanese frequent it. That might mean something, but Sapporo is certainly one that Japanese swear by, at least before.

            I have never been to but just looking at the website does not do much for me at all.

            Some interesting historical note I have found:

            "Instant noodles were invented in 1958 by Momofuku Ando, the Taiwanese-born founder of the Japanese food company Nissin". That is from Wikipedia:


            That is where the name of Momofuku Restaurant came from.


            This might sell in America, but in Japan, would it not be equated with styrofoam bowls? Quite different from the photos here:


            If you read Japanese this might be good, and I find the photos quite revealing as to what actually is Japanese ramen:


            152 W 49th St, New York, NY 10019

            14 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

            1. re: jonkyo

              Is the E 10th St ramen joint Ippudo or Rai Rai Ken? Ippudo is a Japanese chain. I'm not a superfan of their Hakata [Kyushu island] style. I find the noodles too thin. Friends who've been to Japan tell me Rai Rai Ken feels very like a neighbourhood ramen-ya. It never comes atop NY's best ramen lists, but it's cosy, and their ramen makes for wonderful comfort food. (Warning: I've seen packages of De Cecco pasta there...mmm...)

              Rai Rai Ken
              214 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

              1. re: Winterpool

                The 10th street shop is Rai Rai Ken. I only went there as I was dragged by my friend, and took beer...or was it tea, and kimchi.

                My friend goes there now and then, but knows of other places too.

                The atmosphere is key to this place I suppose.

                1. re: jonkyo

                  Sapporo is decent. They are not a real serious ramen endeavor. Misoya in the EV makes the same style, with several regional miso variants. Kuboya also in EV does nice shio and in general good broth. Noodles aren't great there. Totto Ramen does everything decent, Terakawa csn be alright. They do seasonal and regional styles. Ippudo is easily the best. Excellent soups and housemade noodles. But you really have to be into Hakata style. Other shops like Minca and RaiRaiKen I've never been impressed with.

                  Ramen came to Japan from Chinese immigrant workers in the 19th century and from returning Japanese soldiers from Manchuria. It became popular in post-WWII japan as a cheap source of protein.

                  152 W 49th St, New York, NY 10019

                  536 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009

                  Rai Rai Ken
                  214 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

                  65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  Terakawa Ramen
                  18 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10010

                  Totto Ramen
                  366 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

                  536 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009

                  Ramen Misoya
                  129 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  1. re: Silverjay

                    We've done extensive threads on both ramen and naengmyeon.

                  2. re: jonkyo

                    I tried ramen and gyoza as well as mabo tofu ramen at Rai Rai Ken some time ago and all of them were literally dreadful. Rai Rai Ken was my worst ramen experience in New York.

                    Rai Rai Ken
                    214 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

                    1. re: kosmose7

                      I went to Rai Rai Ken with a friend, and refused the noodles because I just sensed that this place was a treny place with a themed atmosphere looking like a neighborhood shop in Japan.

                2. I realise I'm in the decided minority, but I rather enjoy Chang's ramen at Momofuku Noodle Bar. The pork is better quality than most ramen joints, and I like the toppings (as a silly Westerner, toppings are something like 30 per cent of my ramen experience). I wish it were $5 cheaper. And that one didn't have to wait half an hour or more to sit on a bench.

                  To me, a meal of Chang's celebrated pork buns, a bowl of ramen, and some pickles or tomato salad, is nearly an ideal casual dinner.

                  Momofuku Noodle Bar
                  171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Winterpool

                    There is this Japanese noodle bar and restaurant in London. I always pasted by it and never visited because it just looks too trendy. I went in once, and had a meal, due to curiousity. I was not impressed. The one I would pass by is in Bloomsbury and its a Wagamama (

                    I don't get into these types of places. It is like eating on the second floor of Wholefoods onBowery, or worse, cause the title of the food you're ordering could actually be found prepare better elsewhere, minus the sterility of the atmosphere.

                    1. re: jonkyo

                      There are Wagamama outlets in Boston I believe.

                      Ippudo is as trendy as they come and is a popular chain in Japan. Nevertheless, it's the best we've got.