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In the United States, ramen restaurants are going viral since they offer a delicious Japanese noodle dish that's absolutely exquisite. A couple of examples are Uncle in Denver, Colorado, and Ippudo in NYC.
To find out more about these Japanese noodles, we explain what ramen is and how to make homemade ramen following a traditional recipe. Besides, we share a list of the top 8 ramen restaurants in the US (like Mensho Tokyo or Agu ramen) in American cities like NYC, San Francisco, and Chicago, to name a few.
Ramen (ラ ー メ) is a noodle soup originally imported from China that eventually turned into one of the most popular dishes in Japan in the last few decades.
This noodle and broth dish is one of the cheapest and most widely available meals, which also makes it perfect for travelers with limited budgets.
Ramen restaurants, also known as ramen-ya, can be found in nearly every corner of the world and there are many regional variations of this common noodle dish.
This is traditionally a Japanese food. It consists of Chinese style wheat noodles served in meat, or sometimes fish broth often dressed with soy sauce or miso and includes toppings like sliced pork, nori algae, menma, or scallions.
Almost every region of Japan has its own take on this dish, like tonkotsu ramen (pork bone broth) from Kyushu and miso from Hokkaido.
Ramen is usually classified depending on which broth it's made with, although there are varieties that combine different broths. The main types of soup are;
Shoyu. A light brown broth with a soy sauce flavor (shoyu). This is the most common type of ramen.
Shio. A light broth seasoned with salt. This type is usually made with chicken broth.
Miso soup. This is ramen with soy paste (miso) as a condiment.
Tonkotsu. A thick and creamy soup made from pork bones with chicken broth.
To help you get acquainted with the most popular ramen restaurants in the US and find ramen near you, we provide you with a list of the 8 best places to eat ramen from California to New York (in no particular order).
Uncle Ramen, located in Denver is a must if you're heading through Colorado. This Asian fusion ramen shop in the heart of the country is famous for their spicy chicken ramen and soft-shell crab buns.
Originally founded in Fukuoka, Japan in 1985, Ippudo, a Japanese ramen chain, is one of the best in the world and has taken off since it hit NYC in 2008, and now has three locations. The star of the show at this ramen restaurant is a pork dish called tonkotsu.
This Texan ramen joint has a unique vibe since its founders Tatsu Aikawa, and Takuya Matsumoto are both chefs and DJs, and Tatsu was even a chef at a Michelin star restaurant. Here you can choose your own toppings for your bowl, and people rave over the 'spicy fire bomb.'
Agu Ramen, on the island of Oahu, is known for their wide range of noodle choices and spicy and non-spicy options. If you like it hot, then you're going to love their spicy tonkotsu!
In the nation's capital, Daikaya is the first stop for noodle lovers. The shoyu is a favorite on the menu here, and they even have innovative offerings like a vegetarian 'ramen burger' to choose from.
Johnny Noodle King in downtown Detroit offers a mix of traditional ramen noodles and new ramen offerings with a twist like their spicy red curry and southwest noodle soup options. Besides, they offer other Asian fusion dishes like torched mackerel.
Strings has two locations in Chicago, and their noodles are unique since they promise that they are fresh and homemade right in their restaurants. Based on reviews, their pork-based tonkatsu is to die for here!
Originally founded in Japan, in 2015 this ramen restaurant finally hit the US west coast in sunny California, and it even boasts a Michelin star. So, if ever find yourself at Mensho Tokyo, you have to try their creamy tori paitan, you won't be disappointed...
Making traditional ramen from Naruto is much easier than you might think. To prepare it, we'll show you a typical miso ramen recipe that's simple and fast to make homemade, and you'll surprise everyone when you do.
There are many steps in this recipe, and that's why you need different ingredients for each one.
1 kg Chicken carcass
2 Cloves garlic
1 Piece fresh peeled ginger
3 Liters water
1 Pinch of salt
4 Tablespoons red miso
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon mirin
1 Pinch grated ginger
1 Pinch grated garlic
250 g Ramen noodles
500 g Roasted pork
To prepare the ramen broth first, we place the chicken carcasses in a pot with the rest of the broth ingredients on high until it comes to a boil. Then, keep this boiling for 15 minutes. Put a top on the pot and let it simmer for 3 hours. Strain the broth and let it cool down.
To prepare the roasted pork or cashu, we can either bake it in the oven or grill it.
The second option is much easier and faster since you just have to grill the pork filets on the stove top and then take them off since we'll use them later on.
Miso or kaeshi is a type of sauce we use to give the broth that we prepared before more flavor.
To make it you have to mix all of the ingredients until you achieve an evenly textured cream. If you can't find miso, you can substitute it for soy sauce, and mirin can be replaced with a sweet white wine.
Before you do anything else you need to cook the eggs first -the whites should be well cooked, and the yolk should be semi-liquid. Once you've done this, prepare the toppings and cook the noodles.
To do this, heat the broth to bring it to a boil and cook the noodles for between 3-4 minutes.
To serve the ramen properly, take a bowl and put a tablespoon of kaeshi in first, followed by a serving of broth, noodles, and an egg cut in half with a little bit of roasted pork.
To make homemade ramen the traditional way, you can also choose to add sprouts, nori algae, a little bit of fresh chopped scallion, and even sautéed mushrooms to your bowl.
Japan-Guide (2019). Ramen [online]. Available at https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2042.html [Retrieved Jan. 15, 2019].
Nishiyama Seimen (2013). Ramen is "food culture" of Hokkaido [online]. Available at https://www.ramen.jp/english/ [Retrieved Jan. 15, 2019].