Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Heart Ramen Noodles Too!

Some time last week, the NY Times published an article about the ramen craze in Japan. The article tells of numerous noodleries in Japan that offer up simple to spectacular bowls of goodness. It got me thinking about ramen noodles and how satisfying a bowl can be. I often have a craving for a bowl of the original beef flavor. I also enjoy the different varieties of flavors that there are—especially in the oriental stores. Talin, Albuquerque's own International Marketplace, has a plethora of different flavors from spicy seafood to flavors that I can't even translate. 

My dad makes a style of ramen called 'mome', pronounced 'mommy'. He just uses the noodles from a pack of ready to prepare ramen noodles and makes his own broth and toppings. Usually, a chicken based broth, maybe with some garlic and spices, and toppings like charred or fried chopped garlic, scallions, shredded chicken and a boiled egg. Delicious. I really enjoy how the yoke makes the broth creamy, and the bite of the garlic provides a complimentary background to it and some texture. 

I find it fun to create my own flavor of ramen too. Throw some ingredients in the pot and see what comes out. It's really all in what you like; throw an egg in the broth, some water chestnuts, some chinese sausage—whatevers clever. It really hard to go wrong.

With the accessibility to the Internet, you can look up different recipes or mix and match some ideas. Try websites like Ramenlicious.com, Ramenate.com or RamenAdventures.com for recipes or personal experiences of noodleries in Japan and other countries. According to the NY Times article, ramen in the East is larger than the combination love for pizza, hamburgers and hotdogs in New York and some Southern barbeque–and that's only a portion of the craze in Japan. That's quite a craze. The writer, Matt Gross (of the Frugal Traveler blog), also writes that people will wait in line for hours for a bowl of ramen. I have yet to wait in line for something that spectacular, but I hope to be wearing comfortable shoes when I do. It just might be worth a trip to Tokyo to experience that. I'll be sure to let you know when I do, until then eat, slurp and heart ramen. 

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