the new york city ramen tour

as told by chris p thompson

if you have only ever had ramen that at one point in its life was molded into a block shape (or a cup shape), you should probably do what you can to get to these places. after all, it is soup weather.

sapporo and menkui-tei these are unremarkable but authentic places that predate the current fad. i do enjoy menkui-tei's tan-tan ramen. i have never once eaten at sapporo and not been sick within the hour. but this is the price we pay.
menkui-tei is on 56th between 5th and 6th
sapporo is on 49th between 6th and 7th
momofuku hahahahaaa j/k j/k
11th and 1st
minca minca was a revelation when it first opened. wow. i can eat this ramen once a month tops. if you let it sit for more than 30 minutes it turns into solid pork fat before your eyes. i once saw bigcountry eat two full bowls in one sitting. it was not pretty.
e. 5th between ave a and ave b
setagaya the longstanding favorite for me, they made a shio ramen that was light and subtle and multi-layered... highly enjoyable. sadly, they kept changing the recipe and chefs and the multitude of different locations seems to have sort of ruined the place. the staff is actually korean, which is funny (arigatou goJAimasu!)
1st ave between 9th and st mark's
ippudo yes, i know, shut up. hype, hype, hype. it's good. i really actually think it's good. but so do 437 tourists who are in line in front of you. also, that SPACE, i'm sorry NO. it reminds me of what people who open "pan-asian fusion" restaurants in hell's kitchen think is What Gay People Want. dreadful.
4th ave between 9th and 10th
ramen totto hidechan's sister shop. also good!
52nd and 9th
kurichan ramen and okonomiyaki this is the dumbo ramen and okonomiyaki shop i'm opening as soon as the check clears.

thanks chris!
apparently secret ramen places also exist... maybe if you bribe him he'll tell you where they are.


week 37: hidechan ramen

since i ran out of things to say about ramen last week,
i interviewed my token ramen-expert friend chris p thompson to talk about
{hee-day chan}
{totto ramen's east side cousin}
here it is:

 would you rather belly flop in a pool of ramen or a pool of mayonnaise?
ok mayonnaise but it has to be kewpie, and there must be either sriracha, wasabi, or red chili oil mixed in.
tell us about your first experience at hidechan (in third person).
chris was having a lot of trouble walking down 52nd street because the line for the schnitzel truck was blocking foot traffic. eventually he broke through and arrived at hidechan (irasshaimase!), where he selected his desired noodle firmness and eagerly awaited the hakata spicy miso ramen. various japanese peeps slurped contentedly. in exactly the space of one bloggy photo and one twitter-check, the bowl arrived. three minutes and 47 seconds later, tongue completely numb, chris decided that there was now a compelling reason to go to east midtown.
why are hidechan's noodles like this: 

and totto's like this:

the following informative and entertaining educational video can answer this question better than i ever could:
describe hidechan's ramen in four verbs.
 if hidechan's spicy miso ramen were a person (dead, alive, or imaginary), who would it be?
it would be the cartoon baby that serves as the corporate logo for want want holdings ltd.
 his tongue and belly love being on fire, also it is secretly chinese (we haven't talked about the secret ingredient, which i theorize to be szechwan peppercorns).
and who would it be in love with (food or person)?
um spicy girl? (supaishii gaaru)
 have you had the pork buns or the gyoza or any of the other sides?
yes i always order mentaiko rice, which is spicy fish roe with thinly sliced nori over rice. pretty standard but quite excellent. japanese people often judge a ramen place partially on it's gyoza (this is the equivalent of us judging a burger joint partially on it's fries, which is fair), but i admit i haven't yet tried them. wanna go later?
how does it compare to ramen that you've eaten in japan?
actually, you know what's crazy? of the times i've been to japan i can recall eating at a real ramen shop exactly once; my enthusiasm for ramen began only after my most recent trip (fall of 2006). furthermore, i don't think that one real ramen experience would be a good gauge for comparison. picture line c3 circa 2004 in tokyo, it is 4 am, last train long gone, sam passed out face-down on the counter, big country singing (!?), and haruka furiously apologizing to the whole place in japanese. the taste of the ramen is pretty much the only thing i didn't take away from that otherwise memorable experience.

yay! thanks chris!!!
stay tuned for a detailed list of chris' favorite ramen places...

...15 restaurants to go!!!!



hidechan is on 52nd and 2nd. and it's open until 2am mon-sat!!!