Ramen for Cheats

16 September 2013

I know that ramen noodle bars are quite popular right now thanks to a couple of trendy places in Central London. I've yet to try them, but I have walked past Bone Daddies in Soho and it was somewhat surreal. I peeked in and it was full of slick looking young people, with loud music and people sipping wine.

In Japan, there are tons of ramen bars. But they are usually dingy, with wooden counters and cooks shouting, and they're filled with people dining alone for a 10 minute lunch or a quick bite before heading home for the night. Often they are businessmen on their lunch break, or middle aged men washing their noodles down with an ice cold beer.

Because ramen noodles are essentially a fast food, and therefore inexpensive and not a meal to socialise over.

Now, ramen is one of my favourite foods. It was a staple lunch for us at home, but it wasn't the instant noodle kind, nor a particularly gourmet rendition - it's something to be prepared quickly, and eaten (= slurped) just as fast as it was made.

The day after an evening that I had indulged in a few drinks, I woke up not with a hangover, but with an unquenchable craving for ramen. Knowing that it was never going to let go until I had some, I specifically went to the Japan Centre in Piccadilly to pick up the ingredients I needed.

I have to start this with a disclaimer: as the title says, this isn't exactly the most authentic or the most admirable way of making ramen. But, it's far cheaper than going out for it and it's really quite good. Let's call this a glorified version of the instant noodle so I don't get into any trouble.

I chose this one to use that day, but there are lots of options in Asian food shops so you can use whatever takes your fancy. This one has non-fried noodles and tonkotsu soup (a rich, pork flavour), and serves two.





The whole thing is pretty basic. Before cooking the noodles as per the instructions (take 2-3 minutes), I prepared the additional toppings.

In ours, I used:
Boiled eggs
Ham (though it really should be pork belly)
Dried seaweed "Wakame" (that expands and becomes edible as soon as they're in hot water)
Chopped spring onions
Beansprouts





I threw in the beansprouts for the last minute while the noodles were cooking. With this pack, I had to add the flavoured stock into the cooking water once they were done, but usually with better quality, "proper" ramen packs you would dissolve the stock with hot water separately.

Once the noodles were done, I just added everything else and served them in bowls (though they are rubbish really, I didn't have any real ramen bowls on hand).




I like to add a little spice in mine, so I use La-Yu, a chilli infused sesame oil that you can get in any Asian food shop.

And make sure that when you eat it, you slurp loudly. It's rude not to.




As I said, this is basically a slightly fancy fast food, perfect for those lazy days or for a lunch to recover from the night before.

I'm curious to see what these new ramen bars are like in London though, have you been? And if so, are they any good?





23 comments:

  1. I love Ramen, I often make up my own version that's definitely not authentic at all, but I love it none the less because it's so easy!

    Jennie xo | sailorjennie.com

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    1. deliciousness is far more important than authenticity! it's so perfect for cold days isn't it x

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  2. I live in Australia and there are a couple of really authentic ones
    They cook for days before and stuff

    There is one in particular that I am obsessed with

    Thanks for the recipe
    And lovely blog

    x

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    1. i'm sure there are great ones in Australia! thank you for stopping by :) x

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  3. That looks incredible! Yum!

    Thanks for joining the blog hop today!

    Rachel from Brachel Boulevard

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    1. thank you for hosting! i've discovered some lovely reads x

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  4. Ahhh I had fancy ramen for the first time at a restaurant called Totto Ramen in NYC earlier this year. Soooooooo good. Never thought about actually making it at home tho... May have to give this a try. Found your blog via Friends Around the World blog hop and am happily following along :)

    xo, Setarra
    http://www.quaintrelleblog.com/

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    1. i think i watched a program about ramen in NYC, looked like there were a few popular ones! glad you found me, going to hop over to yours now :) x

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  5. This looks delicious, I wish you could buy the ramen noodles from uk supermarkets! Will have to pick some up next time I'm in piccadilly.

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    1. i know, i wish these kinds of products were more readily available in supermarkets! x

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  6. this looks amazing! I absolutely love love ramen but have had a difficult time finding it lately now that I no longer eat meat. I guess I'll just have to make my own!

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    1. i can imagine! i bet you could make a great veggie version with vegetable stock and lots of spices x

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  7. Hi, visiting from the Friends Around the World linkup. This looks absolutely delish, if you can believe it I've never had real ramen! Following along to see a little bit more of London (been there and loved it), and hopefully hear more about your E (we've just moved back to the US from France). xo

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    1. hi! so glad you found me, so that i found you! i'm looking forward to reading about your time in France (perhaps i'll discover places that i'll nag my husband to take me to) and your continuing adventures in the US x

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  8. Replies
    1. thank you! it's nothing special but it did the trick ;) x

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  9. These look yummm! Would definitely like to slurp some for myself!
    Kerry x

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  10. Don't hate me but I've only ever had Top Ramen haha. I love it SO MUCH though, so I can only imagine how fantastic the real stuff would be! I'm totally going to make this within a few weeks...you inspired me! I'll be sure to let you know how it goes ;]

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    1. sometimes instant is the only way to go, no judgement here! i do hope you try this though ;) x

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  11. oh myyy. this looks so delicious. i loove japanese ramen. always went to little tokyo in los angeles to grab some when i lived there and also in new york when i lived there too. there is ren's ramen near where we live now, which is in virginia, and we're so thankful for it!

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  12. i work just around the corner from Japan Center- I'm definitely going to give this a try. My boyfriend and I live on noodles!

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  13. So...I still haven't made my own yet, but I went to a ramen restaurant with my sister for lunch the other day and I TOTALLY thought about you/this post the whole time! My first real ramen! It was super good, made me even more excited to make my own :]

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