Ramen. It’s a way of life. It’s a subculture of its own. Gone are the days where Ramen was a college students only friend, the modern look of ramen is ladeled with an exotic list: nori (roasted seaweed), beni shoga (pickled red ginger slices), yuzukosho (yuzu and chili paste) and even curry powders from Thailand and the Indian subcontinent.
The sheer variety of Ramen styles is astounding. The distinctive characters of each of the 20 plus styles are astounding and have an astonishing resemblance to a Darwinian evolutionary spread of ingredient phenotypes.
Hakata style Ramen noodles, Tokyo and Sapparo style noodles are the first approach of a novice to the adopted Japanese cuisine. Hakata noodles are thin, white and made in small batches of alkaline water. Tokyo ramen is popular all around the world, using a clear dashi with kombu, pork bones, chicken and katsuobushi(dried fermented fish shavings) to create a rich broth – the typical Tokyo ramen has been thoroughly experimented with so make sure the broth is light in appearance and flavor.
With most of today’s Ramen containing meat based broths, it is close to impossible to find a decent Sapparo style (akamiso – red soybean) ramen. Most cooks in New York are still experimenting with pork bones, pork ‘jerky’ or lard based recipes that are flavorful and savory but most vegetarians are left out.
Luckily, a few New York Ramen extraordinaires are offering vegan options along with the more traditional modern tsukemen (dipping noodle) and Chashu (pork) ramen bowls. Here are some of your options.
Ramen Misoya NYC
This place has three different miso styles:
The Kome miso, their standard miso broth. Their Mame miso is made of dark soy bean paste, and is a sweet miso broth with a rich texture. The Shiro miso is the lightest of the broths and is described as being aromatic and sweet.
While we haven’t tried them yet they do sound mighty delicious! Oh yeah, drop us a line if you’ve eaten here and share the experience with us.
129 Second Avenue (Between St. Marks Place and 7th Street)
They have a Shojin ramen ($18) made of the Japanese crown jewel of short grain rice – koshihikari. These noodles are also gluten free and can be topped off with seasonal vegetables, chestnuts, Japanese sweet potato and Chinese Goji.
We recommend getting some Shishito peppers with yuzu salt ($8) to add a little spice into the mix and remember if your still hungry after a bowl, make sure you have another two dollars in your pocket, say ‘Kae Dama’ and slurp away.
321 W 51st St.
Kambi Ramen House
They have one vegetarian option and it seems like a solid bowl of Ramen. The Vegetable miso Ramen is available with a mixture of seasonal vegetables and fried tofu for 13.50
351 east 14th street B/W 1st and 2nd avenue.
This prospect heights contender has a very simple menu with very little for a vegetarian. Luckily for us they’ve gotten astounding reviews and zagat even goes as far to say that the cook might be the next trendsetter in Ramenesque cuisine. So go give their veggie ramen bowel a try for just 13 dollars.
552 Vanderbilt Ave (between Atlantic Ave & Pacific St), Brooklyn
They have a few options here, including shoyu and a delectable miso ramen. What were excited to try is the curry Ramen! That’s a first in our book.
Make sure to tell them you’re a vegan and they’ll hold out on the fish cakes and pork
276 5th Ave (between 4th Ave & Garfield Pl) Brooklyn
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