A quick one today. Ramen has been a mini trend in NYC in the last 6-9 months. I finally mustered up the time to go see what was so different then those $.29, hot pot prepared, college quick hits we would all load up on when hitting the local stop and shop once every 6 months. What was wrong with us back then? Why would it take us so long to go to the grocery store? And when we did, why did we think it was like the opening 45 minutes to Red Dawn where we only had 15minutes to get provisions for the next 6 months in the woods?
A couple things to note. 1. I have already had the best ramen in the world. 2. I prefer my noodles when they have red sauce surrounding them. That said I didn’t think I was going to be able to replicate what I tasted in Singapore at all. I was pleasantly surprised as soon as I popped into the little shop just off St. Marks place in the East Village. There was a lot of foreign Asian languages being spoken, the signs were predominantly in Chinese and I saw a lot of smiling faces. So far, so good. I sat down and got right to business perusing the noodle section. I looked for something with tripe (I love tripe in Asia Soups) but didn’t find quite the variety I liked. Settling on their number one best seller, Menkui Ramen, I sipped my beer waiting for my “kitchen sink” ramen to arrive. Just a short 5 minutes later a steaming bowl of noodles, seaweed flavored broth, veggies and pork were staring up at me. If you are an avid reader of FT you know that I love when food tastes like it was made outside the USA. This ramen had lots of that character. Not a full foreign experience but the broth packed a great flavor as the delicate and light noodles danced their way down my throat. Men Kui Tei is definitely worth the visit and it’s a bit quieter than some of the more famous ramen spots in the East Village. Now, If I could only get to the bottom of why all the hot ramen shops are in the East Village?