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2013-12-20

NY Times Story on Ivan Orkin

I had the good fortune to meet Ivan Orkin in his original Tokyo (Minami Kurasuyama) shop when we were living in Tokyo. Earlier this week the NY Times published this article that details Ivan's recent accomplishments (a shop in NY, a book, and returning to live in the US):

NY Times article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/dining/a-life-of-noodles-comes-full-circle.html?pagewanted=all

Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop:
http://www.ivanramen.com/en/locations

Ivan's book "Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo's Most Unlikely Noodle Joint":
http://www.amazon.com/Ivan-Ramen-Obsession-Recipes-Unlikely/dp/1607744465


2013-11-15

Amsterdam Ramen #1



Not counting Wagamama and the airport, AFAIK there are only two places to get ramen in Amsterdam and this is one of them: Le Fou Fow, on the second or third floor depending on how you count, of the Dun Yong Chinese supermarket in the mini-Chinatown street that Amsterdam has. Broth was on the light side, and the toppings and noodles were a bit sparse. A few old ramen magazines laying around. The poor chef has to cook, collect dishes, clean tables and wait on customers all by himself. So plan for an hour. I hope he is at least breaking even. The other place, which I have not been to, is a Japanese izakaya/yakitori-type place that has ramen only on the weekends: Hakata Senpachi.

London Ramen #1

Was in London for a couple weeks recently, then Amsterdam. Here are some articles that talk about the recent ramen revolution in London:

http://metro.co.uk/2013/10/14/top-five-ramen-noodle-restaurants-in-london-from-ittenbari-in-soho-to-dozo-in-bloomsbury-4145222/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/restaurants/10261965/From-Tonkotsu-to-BoneDaddies-Londons-best-ramen.html
http://travel.cnn.com/london-ramen-restaurants-526921

And here are my pics of Shoryu, Tonkotsu and Bone Daddies.







Of the three I would rank them in order for my taste from best down as Bone Daddies, Tonkotsu and Shoryu. Shoryu's pork slices were as thin as possible and they make you pay for the same "regular" toppings that other places include. Shoryu has a "cafeteria" vibe going on - they will probably be the first to become a chain. The restaurant in the Mitsukoshi might be a better choice in that area. Of Bone Daddies and Tonkotsu, Bone Daddies was more spacious and the soup was richer. Tonkotsu was very cramped but the portion was a bit bigger. At Tonkotsu you can optionally sit at the ramen counter but due to the high counter height there isn't much to see. Bone Daddies provides a water picture and is near Burger And Lobster if your cholesterol level isn't high enough afterwards. And all are expensive (but on par with NY, but perhaps 25-40% more expensive than Tokyo ironically) - these bowls average 9-13 GBP each (15-20 USD). And the ingredients don't contribute to the price as much as rent does. In Tokyo many the best ramen shops are sort of the reverse - they get cheap real estate in the suburbs and charge reasonable prices and then have lines around the block all day every day, and they build customer efficiency into their model (no empty seats, no dawdling).

2013-11-14

Ramen Website Roundup

Here are some other ramen websites that are regularly updated and cover ramen in Japan... just to keep you occupied:

http://www.ramenadventures.com
http://www.ramenities.com
http://www.goramen.com
http://enjoyramen.blogspot.com

2013-11-12

Rai Rai Ramen/North Brunswick, NJ



Have a bunch of outside-the-US European reviews to post, but here is some info on an inside-the-US shop not too far from where we now live in in NJ. Many restaurants in this area of NJ will be small shops in "strip-mall" or "mini-mall" style buildings. Also this area has a (relatively) high population of Chinese (mainland, Taiwan, HK, etc.) and Korean residents (among other backgrounds). Rai Rai Ramen is a small shop which has a bit of Taiwanese bent and has mostly noodle dishes.

For outside Japan and outside NY or LA there Hakata-style is good. The proprietor will ask you whether you want "generation 1" or "generation 2" when you ask for the Hakata ramen - be sure to ask for the "generation 2" as that is the more fatty and creamy one. My recommendation to the shop would be to make the Hakata ramen a true Hakata experience and substitute somen-style wheat noodles for the plain generic curly noodles. Also put out fresh garlic, beni-shoga and a sesame seed grinder.

Yelp reviews with pictures: http://www.yelp.com/biz/rai-rai-ramen-north-brunswick

2013-10-14

How much does a bowl of Ramen Jiro weigh?

Again courtesy of my friend K-san (in Tokyo)...

http://tatsuyanikaido.blogspot.jp/2013/09/blog-post_29.html

The above blog post has a list of most of the popular Ramen Jiro branches and the weights of the non-soup portion of the serving.
The "winner", coming in at 1139 grams (2.5 lbs) is the Hachioji branch, near Keihin Horinouchi station.

Reviewed here back in 2007:

http://www.ramentokyo.com/2007/06/ramen-jirohachioji-2.html