Tag Archives: ramen

Nishida Sho-Ten: FAMAZING gyoza and delicious, authentic ramen

Nishida Sho-Ten
Nishida Sho-Ten
302 E 49th St (between 1st and 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10017

I’m really tired of eating at fancy places (#firstworldproblems). I was about to blog about my recent trip to Bouley, then just got so bored writing about the smoked Alaskan salmon with Tasmanian mustard seed, creme fraiche, coconut sugar, and gluten free crouton (yes that is all in one dish, the amuse bouche actually – not even a real dish). I’ve come to accept that as much as I have an appreciation for places like Bouley and Jean Georges, I get most excited about eating, taking photos, and blogging about homey hole-in-the-wall places like this one!

Nishida Sho-Ten
I like eating where hip Asians eat too I guess.

Nishida Sho-Ten
So, Nishida Sho-Ten is a cute little ramen place in Midtown East. There are always diners eating there, but I’ve never had to wait in line for a seat before. Continue reading Nishida Sho-Ten: FAMAZING gyoza and delicious, authentic ramen

The most authentic Canto food at Cha Chan Tang

Cha Chan TangCha Chan Tang (aka Tea Restaurant)
45 Mott Street (between Pell St and Bayard St)
New York, NY 10013

Cha Chan Tang is a type of restaurant that is popular in Hong Kong and specializes in cheap Canto-Western style foods. It also happens to be the name of a restaurant in Chinatown that serves up this exact kind of food. Directly translated, “cha chan tang” means “tea restaurant.” They came to exist after the British colonized Hong Kong and brought the concept of having tea and cakes. Western food was very expensive so restauranteurs decided to make a “tea restaurant” just for locals which served up a fusion menu. This restaurant in Chinatown mimics these types of restaurants through their menu and decor (see above… they have these fake windows that play videos of Hong Kong streets/traffic on loop… pretty cool).

Cha Chan Tang
The reason I knew we had stepped into an authentic cha chan tang was because of the intense smell of Hong Kong style milk tea. Hong Kong style milk tea is made with black tea and condensed or evaporated milk. Sounds simple enough but the real deal is actually pretty hard to come by. To make this concoction, tea leaves are placed in a sackcloth (see above), which are then placed in a container with water that is brought to a boil. The sackcloth is said to make the tea smoother. The container is removed when the water is boiling, and then sometimes brought back to a boil. This repeated action intensifies the flavor and caffeine levels – hence, the milk tea is usually pretty caffeinated.

Cha Chan Tang
The milk tea looks just like this. You can then add sugar to your liking. It’s strong, milky, and very, very fragrant.

Cha Chan TangThis is a classic pineapple bun. Growing up, I had one of these at least once a week. It is a slightly sweet bread that is made to resemble a pineapple. Nothing about the taste is pineappley. The crust is flakey and sugary while the center is soft and fluffy. This version is a buttered pineapple bun that is very common in cha chan tangs. A warm pineapple bun is served with a fat slab of butter in the middle, melting as it reaches your table. The bun paired with the strong tea is enough reason to visit the restaurant over and over again. Continue reading The most authentic Canto food at Cha Chan Tang

Nagi Ramen: 12-hour sardine broth with wide noodles

November and December of 2013 was a ton of traveling. I went to Italy, North Carolina, Beijing, Dubai, and Japan. The next couple of posts will be mostly from these travels (in no particular order), especially since winter in New York is very sad (dirty, dark, and depressing). Once the weather warms up a bit, I’ll be back on the New York grind.

Nagi RamenNagi Niboshi
1-3-1 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

While in Japan, I was on the hunt for the best ramen as well as new kinds of ramen I have not had. I thought I hit a jackpot when I found Nagi as it is consistently very well rated and is unique. Nagi serves up flat, wide noodles (like pappardelle) with traditional wavy noodles and has a distinctive extra-umami broth. The niboshi broth is boiled for 12 hours with dried sardines. For those of you who hate sardines, I know you hate it for its fishiness but the 12 hours of boiling kills that fishiness. LAW, who hates all things fishy, didn’t even notice. The broth is just very fragrant and… umami.

Nagi Ramen
Like a lame tourist, (it’s hard for me to keep my cool, even though this is my third time in Japan), I was excited to use the ticket vending machine to purchase my ramen. I was about as excited as that cartoon in the background.

Nagi Ramen
The ramen dudes were super jolly as they made noodles for their customers. They would poke fun at each other and their customers (me) while serving. They didn’t speak English, but we managed because we didn’t care what they gave us. Everything looked great.

Nagi Ramen
Ugh. Yum. I got the one with everything in it: thick, soft slices of pork belly, seaweed, bamboo shoots, scallions, and a soft-boiled egg. Continue reading Nagi Ramen: 12-hour sardine broth with wide noodles

Pig Feet in NYC! – at Hakata Tonton

Hakata Tonton
61 Grove St
(between S 7th Ave & Sheridan Sq)
New York, NY 10014

We celebrated T.C.’s birthday at this small Japanese restaurant in the West Village. It has a maximum capacity of about 25 people. The seats and tables are all wooden. There is a gigantic red lantern in the middle of the restaurant. People are engaged in animated conversations but the noise level is a consistent soft humming.

We shared the Seaweed Salad ($5) with yuzu ponzu dressing. Nothing special here. Just a nice, light salad to start the meal.

We then shared the Grilled Pork Tonsoku ($7) with scallion and ponzu sauce, which was like the Ratatouille moment when critic Ego, at the end of the film, has a bite of the ratatouille for the first time. He experiences this crazy flashback to his childhood when his mother made him the homiest, tastiest ratatouille. Pork tonsoku is pork feet, something my grandmother always prepared for my mom and something my mom always prepared for me. The Hakata Tonton version is delicious. It has a very rich, chewy texture (think tendon meets fat…) and the exterior is perfectly grilled so it is slightly charred and crisp. I am thinking about going back and just ordering one of these for myself with a bowl of rice.

Continue reading Pig Feet in NYC! – at Hakata Tonton

Ganso, Brooklyn’s ramen attempt.

GansoGanso
25 Bond St
(between Livingston St & Fulton St)
Brooklyn, NY 11201

ANOTHER ramen place I needed to try. I needed to try it so badly I was willing to trek all the way into Brooklyn for it, and not Williamsburg I tell you, DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN. So far, I have tried Totto, Ippudo, Minca, Kambi, Hide Chan, Rai Rai Ken, and Yuji, all hyped up ramen places that battle every year to be the best (let me add that Totto doesn’t get as much love as I think it deserves). Ganso is now added to that list. It is rated 4 stars on Yelp with 84 reviews, most of which rave about the “perfectly al dente noodles” and “solid ramen” bowls. One even described the the ramen as “transcendent.” Go figure.

Ganso
I came with V.P. and J.W. for a Sunday lunch. We shared the Buta Kimchi Buns ($9), which came with two buns stuffed with 9 braised pork belly, jalapeño kimichi, and spicy mayo. It only cost $4 for an extra bun (I was expecting $5). I wasn’t expecting too much from this almost conventional “pan-asian” bun filled with korean kimchi, chinese pork belly, and mexican jalapeños. Given the whole mexican korean food truck craze and the general korean-chinese mix, the concept (A.W.) of the bun seemed ordinary. BUT, I was pleasantly surprised. The pork belly had a perfect 2:3 fat to non-fat ratio. It was thickly sliced and mouth-wateringly succulent. Flavors were just right; a little sweetness and saltiness from the pork with no extra sauce (aka. actually flavored meat) and a little acidity and spice from the jalapeño kimchi. The mayo wrapped everything up in a nice creamy explosion of flavors. I really enjoyed this.

Ganso
We also shared Rio’s Wings ($9), which included 6 Bonchon-esque wings. Legit tasted like Bonchon.  Continue reading Ganso, Brooklyn’s ramen attempt.

Totto Ramen, I just keep coming back.

Totto Ramen
366 W 52nd St
(between 9th Ave & 8th Ave)
New York, NY 10019

It’s getting cold again and naturally, I am beginning to crave ramen again.  No other ramen in the city satisfies my palate as much as Totto Ramen does.  If you follow my blog, you’ll have heard the name mentioned quite a few times. It’s a bit of a hike from downtown but is always incredibly worth the time traveling, and the time waiting in line. We went for a late 2:30pm lunch on a weekday and still needed to wait 30 minutes to be seated. Like seasoned veterans, we sat down and knew exactly what we wanted to order: 2 bowls of Spicy Ramen ($10.25), one Char Siu Mayo Don ($4.50), and one Pork Bun ($3.00).


Slurp slurp slurp.  This is my favorite ramen on the menu.  Other favorites include the Vegetable Ramen, and the Nikku Ramen, which is an extra large bowl with piles and piles of delicious, tender pork belly.  The Spicy Ramen is exceptional when you just want a solid bowl of no-fuss pork broth noodles.  The noodles are always perfectly al dente and they come with a mound of fresh spring onions that really help freshen up the porkiness of the broth.  The spicy sauce is that delicious kind my Sichuan grandmother has taught me to make: fried chili flakes and powder.  It comes with generous slices of pork belly that has been torched to produce a nice smokey finish.  Slurp slurp slurp.

Continue reading Totto Ramen, I just keep coming back.

Rai Rai Ken, the ramen battle continues.


Rai Rai Ken
214 E 10th St
(between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003

 

GAHHH!  I just found out that my favorite East Village Japanese restaurants are all owned by one… person.  How is this possible?!  Soba-Ya, Robataya, Cha-An, Curry-Ya, Shabu-Tatsu are among my favorites that one person calls his own.  Mr. Bon Yagi came to the U.S. as a dishwasher and somehow worked his way up to owning 11 Asian restaurantsand at one point, owning a diner that often saw folks like Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and Madonna.  To say the least, I am impressed.  Most of his restaurants are rated 4-4.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp and each of them is someone’s “favorite” Japanese restaurant.  Rai Rai Ken is Mr. Yagi’s ramen venture.

 

After my sister-ramen-restaurant battle post, many readers suggested I try Rai Rai Ken, another one of those renown ramen places in the city.  Everyone has their favorite (Totto Ramen) and though I am known to be a very loyal customer (Totto4Life), I am always willing to try other favorites – mainly because I like to try new places but also because I like to re-confirm that my favorite still rocks.

 

Pictured above is the Shoyu Ramen ($9.50), which is ramen in a soy sauce based noodle soup topped with bamboo shoot, boiled egg, roast pork, spinach, fish cake, dried seaweed, and scallion.  I have to admit, this was a solid bowl of ramen.  Rai Rai Ken also gets extra points for making the egg perfectly gooey in the center, like how Ippudo does it.  But the roast pork was just okay… slightly tough and bland.  Noodles were not particularly memorable, meaning they were good.  Not overcooked and slightly springy.  They didn’t fall apart when slurped (unlike Ippudo’s!!) but also weren’t as tasty nor chewy as Totto’s and Kambi’s.  Broth was… good.  Also not particularly memorable, but was definitely good.   Continue reading Rai Rai Ken, the ramen battle continues.

Minca and Kambi, sister restaurants that look the same but taste different.

In the great You Es of Eh, we often think of Japanese food as merely sushi and and edamame and forget about a super duper important, tasty part of it: ramen.  Big bowls of chewy noodles in hearty pork or chicken bone broths topped with slices of tender and flavorful barbecue pork, ramen is definitely one of my favorite foods (along with pizza and cookies).  My most favorite ramen place is Totto Ramen in Midtown West but I have yet to write a legitimate blog post about it because I am waiting until I get a new camera (SOON!) so I can do the place some justice (my photos now are horrible so don’t judge by the link)!  For now… I present to you two other ramen places.  One not so good and one pretty good. Minca Ramen Factory*
536 E 5th St
(between Avenue A & Avenue B)*
New York, NY 10009
Kambi Ramen House*
351 E 14th St
(between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003

Continue reading Minca and Kambi, sister restaurants that look the same but taste different.

Pimped Up Shin Ramen

Normally when I have ramen it is when our refrigerator is empty and we are out of frozen dumplings. This hierarchy has nothing to do with taste because I LOVE Shin ramen- I just try to be healthy. This past weekend, we decided to “splurge” and make an extra delicious pot of ramen, filled with yummy ingredients such as mushrooms, tofu, scallions, baby bok choy and poached eggs. It was definitely worth it. You really can’t go wrong with ramen.

Ippudo: Wasabi Tonkotsu Ramen

Ippudo
65 4th Ave
(between 9th St & 10th St)
New York, NY 10003

I wanted to try something new at Ippudo because I always get the Modern. The Modern is a tasty milky pork broth with a hint of roasted garlic flavor. I have also tried the Miso and the Chicken Broth ones as well. Both are good but do not compare to the more flavorful Modern. We were all craving ramen but did not want to make the trek to Totto so ended up at Ippudo. The Wasabi Tonkotsu ramen was the perfect “try something new” ramen because it was delicious and different. The soup was infused with Wasabi and the ramen was the curly kind, not the straight kind you usually get at Ippudo. Definitely have a side of their seasoned soft boiled egg because it is the best!  Lines are usually crazy long.  We went at around 11pm and still had to wait.

But seriously, if you really want some amazing ramen, check out Totto.