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Greed1914
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:27 am Reply with quote
Justin, what is this place in Des Moines you mentioned? I find myself there from time to time, so it might be worth checking out.



I've taken to making my own ramen, or at least the best approximation I can manage with the ingredients available. It was starting to bug me that I would see the real deal in anime, but only had the 25 cent stuff available to me, so I ended up deciding to make my own.


Last edited by Greed1914 on Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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Shiflan



Joined: 29 Jul 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:30 am Reply with quote
Excellent article from Justin.

I do feel compelled to point out one minor correction though: Most types of soup stock are simmered gently, and that's true for ramen just as it is for French stocks. But Tonkotsu stock is not simmered gently. It's cooked at a full-on rolling boil. The reason is that most stocks strive to be clear. In order for that to happen the fat must not emulsify with the water, so the bubbling is kept to an absoloute minimum. The fat floats to the top and is skimmed off by the cook, meanwhile the stock itself remains clear. But Tonkotsu is different. Tonkotosu is the Japanese name for what the Chinese would call "Baitang" or "white soup". It is deliberately emulsified by vigorous boiling. That's where the white color comes from--it's caused by light scattering from tiny droplets of fat suspended in the stock.

Justin covered all the major types but there are also countless regional variations of Ramen all around Japan. They are based on the major ones but have their own unique twists. If anyone wants to learn more about this I highly recommend the "Japanology" documentary episode on Ramen, which you can find it on Youtube.
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Akamaru_Inu



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:34 am Reply with quote
Good pork belly in ramen is the only way to make fatty meat palatable I think, and man oh man is it ever delicious.

I'll confess I'm not 100% a huge fan of the texture of the noodles I've had in 'legitimate' ramen. I don't know why, they're too thick or too chewy or something and I'm just not really a fan.

Also when I make instant ramen ("""ramen"""), I can't understand eating it plain. Go full hog or go home with the ingredients: add meat and veggies and an egg.
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Shiflan



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:36 am Reply with quote
Greed1914 wrote:
It was starting to bug me that I would see the real deal in anime, but only had the 25 cent stuff available to me, so I ended up deciding to make my own.


Same here.
Making the noodles from scratch is seriously difficult (at least to get it right), but the broth is not difficult at all. It does take a long time to cook it, but it is all hands-off. If you have a slow cooker like a "crock pot" you can do it overnight without any labor. If you have a pressure cooker you can do it in about 1/3 the time compared to simmering in an open pot. But there's nothing difficult about it. Make a big batch, portion it up, and freeze. Then when you want a bowl just grab a serving out of your freezer, heat it up, and you're set.
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Crabtree1



Joined: 14 Mar 2018
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:59 am Reply with quote
I must say that I do fancy making my own every now and again... I recently got some "upper class" instant ramen from a chinese supermarket, far superior to the 30p packs you can get at the local corner shop!

Unfortunately I wouldn't be surprised if the nearest ramen shop for me is all the way down in Edinburgh Crying or Very sad
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jsevakis
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:19 pm Reply with quote
Greed1914 wrote:
Justin, what is this place in Des Moines you mentioned? I find myself there from time to time, so it might be worth checking out.

The place is called Wasabi. There are apparently a few locations, but the one I went to was in Johnston. The ramen was every bit as good as some of my favorite LA haunts. The sushi was almost there, but the night I visited the sushi rice seasoning was a little bit off.
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Lactobacillus yogurti



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:30 pm Reply with quote
My favorite ramen joint closed two years ago, so I was kinda sad. But I recently found a ramen place near my office, owned by a man from Saitama. He makes the noodles himself, and even sells them to make ramen at home!
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Greed1914
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:47 pm Reply with quote
jsevakis wrote:
Greed1914 wrote:
Justin, what is this place in Des Moines you mentioned? I find myself there from time to time, so it might be worth checking out.

The place is called Wasabi. There are apparently a few locations, but the one I went to was in Johnston. The ramen was every bit as good as some of my favorite LA haunts. The sushi was almost there, but the night I visited the sushi rice seasoning was a little bit off.


Thanks. It looks like a couple of their locations are pretty close to where I would be depending on the reason I'm in the city, so I'll have to make a point to go.
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GhostStalkerSA



Joined: 17 May 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:05 pm Reply with quote
I just had a pretty big bowl of ramen made with chicken stock at Totto Ramen in Manhattan last Sunday for my birthday, and it was good. The only thing is that it's the add ons where ramen places get you, I paid $30 for that bowl after those add ons, plus a kaedama (extra helping of noodles). But it was super worth, gigantic chunks of pork belly in addition to those slices of chashu you normally get with bowls of ramen.
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Digi_Michael



Joined: 24 Sep 2018
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:15 pm Reply with quote
jsevakis wrote:
Greed1914 wrote:
Justin, what is this place in Des Moines you mentioned? I find myself there from time to time, so it might be worth checking out.

The place is called Wasabi. There are apparently a few locations, but the one I went to was in Johnston. The ramen was every bit as good as some of my favorite LA haunts. The sushi was almost there, but the night I visited the sushi rice seasoning was a little bit off.


So glad to hear you liked Wasabi. They now have 4 locations in Des Moines. All owned by the same great people, all 4 are a bit different. Wasabi Chi is our favorite for sushi and we enjoy going there at least once a month. It's kind of like the TV show Cheers where the staff knows our names lol. Their newest location in Johnston is classified as a Ramen/Shushi House and I'm totally in love with their Ramen. They are the best, in my opinion, of the 4 locations when it comes to Ramen. It's also close to where we live to that's another bonus for us.
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Zerreth



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:58 pm Reply with quote
I never understood shio ramen. I always felt that no matter how good the "salt" is (which a lot of restaurants who take pride in their shio ramen hawk about), there's only so much you can do with it and to counter Justin's point, I think shio has been the one that's been screwed up the most often. While I'd say you can find a lot of bad tonkotsu that may not have that nice milky color, it's still noticeably rich. Bad shio just tastes like nissin instant cups, and far too often I've had salt ramen where it just felt like I was eating straight out of a salt lake....

My eyes were opened and my conceived notions were absolutely shattered when I had Menya Masamune's shio and shoyu ramen though. Their stock has a such an incredible balance of fish, chicken and pork that it's a joy to eat, and it's poured over a small ladle of scallion oil which gives it a really clean and refreshing finish. Needless to say, their chashu is well prepared and often broiled over charcoal so there's a good smoky taste.

Ultimately though, my soft spot is for miso and there's a great miso ramen restaurant in lower Manhattan that specializes in it (aptly named misoya), and I go there as a guilty pleasure for a good helping of their dark, bitter mame miso ramen.
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:14 pm Reply with quote
If there are any adventurous chefs out there, the YouTube channel Cooking With Dog (theirr “narrator” is a dog) has a shoyu ramen recipe that’s doable without going full-bore, made-from-bone stock and without having to make your own noodles.

My only critique is that the soya eggs are clearly not cooked long enough to get rid of the alcoholic taste of sake, so I’d recommend either skipping those or finding a different soy/soya egg recipe.
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omoikane



Joined: 03 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:16 pm Reply with quote
Hm, there are some actual inaccuracies in this article.
First of all, instant noodle are almost never freeze-dried. And honestly it's not too far fetched from ramen generally. This is why they sell ramen kits that taste pretty good these days (see the Koizumi-san Loves Ramen episode on this).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_noodle#Production

Second, tonkutsu ramen is more a style of broth prep. You can still have shio, miso, etc ramen using a tonkutsu base. Chicken-based broth with fish and vegetable seasoning is the most common prep method for the base. The thick white version of tonkutsu ramen is hakata style.

It's probably better to explain ramen types by Japanese regions.
https://guide.michelin.com/us/chicago/features/ramen-types-guide-origin/news

In NYC, you can have tonkutsu style ramen with all kinds of variations, it's great in 2018. We are still largely missing the more seafood based broths as well as some of the fun gimmicks. There are some top ranked sardine-based broths that probably will not go so well with western tastes, I guess.
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Shiflan



Joined: 29 Jul 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:18 pm Reply with quote
whiskeyii wrote:
If there are any adventurous chefs out there, the YouTube channel Cooking With Dog (theirr “narrator” is a dog) has a shoyu ramen recipe that’s doable without going full-bore, made-from-bone stock and without having to make your own noodles..


That is a pretty good channel for homestyle cooking, I can recommend it as well. That said, I don't think making full-bore ramen stock should scare anyone off. It's extremely easy and requires little effort, all it takes is time. The ingredients are cheap and there is little labor involved. It can be simmering away while you are doing other things.
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 3706
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:24 pm Reply with quote
Fred wrote:

Where I live, there's no good ramen restaurants, so when I see anime characters ordering different types of ramen, I have no idea what they are. Can you help?


Just in case (heh, see what I did there?), think the poster used the wrong word and asked what are the different types of noodles offered in ramen restaurants, not realizing that ramen is only one of the kinds:
- Ramen is the standard default white-wheat pasta noodle, like the kind college-kids and stoners boil in the cups and packets,
- Soba is a dark buckwheat-flour noodle, with a grey color, a heartier taste and firmer texture (also delicious in cold-sesame salads), and
- Udon is a thick, slightly chewy noodle, as thick as the kind you get from Campbell's chicken-noodle soup, only cooked ramen-style.

It's nice to go into fan analyses of the greatest broths and rare toppings--like Megane from "Urusei Yatsura" going on one of his epic fan-screeds about the connoisseur loves of the true discerning Japanese uber-fan--but the question of "You mean there's more than one noodle?" is really the more common question among most new anime fans who've only grown up with the same microwave cups they've seen characters slurp.
I've mostly had the pork and miso variety of broths, so I'm still not sure what "Butter noodles" are, but it's got me curious to try.

(In our college-town, we not only have a Chinese college-town ramen stand, but also a mom-&-pop Thai-owned one, that also offers the thin Rice noodle, and tasty Clear noodle, sometimes with curry-based broths. Doesn't always have to be Chinese or Japanese-based.)
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