Friday, March 7, 2014
New York 's Ramen Revolution
Ramen soup is undergoing a seismic shift.Once relegated to college dorms and small,dingy restaurants, this Japanese classic is now becoming the hottest bowl for Manhattan foodies and soup hipsters.A good bowl od ramen is definitely worth heading into the city. Renowned New York Times food writer ,Pete Wells, gave his top choices in Wednesday's Times Dining section.As late as ten years ago if anyone in the NY metro area wanted an authentic bowl of ramen soup, he or she would have to follow what's known as the "ramen belt".This swung as far west as Fort Lee and as far east as Queens and Brooklyn.All that is changing thanks in the shift from soba to this.Soba noodles are prized for their delicacy in shape and flavor.It's minimalist, flavored only with scallions and togarashi,a spicy mix of dried chili pepper, sesame seeds and orange peels along with dried Ginger and seaweed.The broth is made from seaweed and dried fish.Ramen is a much more heartier affair.Pork pieces swim amongst the thicker noodles, and can be made cheaply from boiling meat and bones.That's not to say it's not as good as soba,in fact it's sheer heaven,with it's mélange of strong flavors. The top ramen shop on Mr. Wells list is Ivan Ramen's Slurp Shop in The Gotham West Market.The best is shoo, a chicken ramen that has both depth and clarity.The stand also has a vegetable shoyu, which tastes of roasted mushrooms blended with soy sauce.This is a hearty broth ,perfect for thkese blustery cold March nights.Another highly rated stop is Takashi, in the West Village.This is a Japanese Korean barbecue with a menu of all beef.That means the ramen is completely red meat.It's dotted with Cheerio sized rings of fried beef intestine.It's also gets added flavor from the beef belly also used.The city's ramen restaurants are also hybrids.There is the Korean Hanjan which features it's noodles in a bone broth ,spiked with a fiery hot chili pastor.Thailand also gives the ramen industry a boost too with it's restaurant Hide-Chan in Midtown.Black oil, made from roasted garlic, colors the broth while a dash of chilies gives it an unusual heat. Manhattan can be a chilly and dark place in late winter.Warm up with a bowl of hearty and exotic ramen soup.It's definitely worth a trip to the city for it.