Ah, Ramen-- that inexpensive staple of every college student's diet. My greatest victories back in my college years were when I scored an A in Calculus and when I would find a deal for 10 packs of ramen for $1. The latter happened more often than the former, unfortunately. Momofuku Noodle Bar wasn't around back in my NYU days. If it had been, my idea of ramen would have been vastly different.
Even at 10pm, there's a 20 minute wait on a Saturday night to sadle up to the small bar and slurp some noodles. We started with an order of pork buns.
These are like grown-up, delicious sliders from White Castle. The pork belly is extremely fatty and delectably tender. Next time, I may just skip the ramen altogether and have a feast of pork buns.
I decided that an all-pork meal was a bit much, even for me (I'm up to 1.5 pigs total this year methinks), so I decided upon the Chicken Ramen.
I may as well have ordered it with pork. The chicken was cooked under a press on the griddle, and the pressure made the skin crisp and strangely pork-like. I'm a huge fan of chicken cooked under a press (or a brick). While the skin crisps up, the meat remains sooo tender. The broth, made from chicken and pork bones, including some other pork products, was salty and flavorful. The noodles were accompanied with vibrantly green peas and scallions, as well as some bamboo shoots and a thin piece of seaweed. I usually like my noodles a little less soft, but I thought the consistency definitely melded well with the chicken and peas. Afterwards I could feel the pork broth escaping through my pores, but in the best possible way. Like a reverse pork facial.
My only problem with ramen is that I just can't eat it in a semi-attractive manner. I'm the type of girl who twirls her spaghetti with a spoon. It's so hard for me to shove noodles in my mouth with chopsticks and not look like I'm a cow going after some grass. At least with the bar setup, I was just facing the cooks, so it's not like another patron had to watch my glorious, slurping display.
That 25 cent package of ramen in my cupboard used to be a very guilty pleasure, but now, thanks to the popularity of New York ramen joints, I can finally voice my love of ramen with pride. I just need to doctor it up with a little more than an egg, soy sauce, and some peanut butter (hey, don't knock it til you've tried it).