Most people think of Ramen as the packets of noodles sold ten for a dollar in the supermarkets. They are very tasty, but are nothing more than fried noodles, vegetable oil and salt; temporarily satisfying, but not nutritious at all. Read my article, Beware the anti-meal when visiting the supermarket about the topic. This is a crying shame because the real Ramen, a respectable home-made soup of whole-wheat noodles in a broth made with meat or fish and topped with a variety of meats and vegetables, is a very nutritious, delicious and time-honored dish.
Ramen originated in China before finding its way to Japan. The exact time period that it travelled to Japan is unclear, but once it did, this noodle soup swept the nation. Now, many region-specific Ramen specialties can be found at food stalls, restaurants and in homes around Japan. Once an outside-only dining experience at the restaurants of skilled Ramen chefs, home-made Ramen soup can now be a very inexpensive and quick meal to make in your dorm room or dorm kitchen.
Follow these tips for a satisfying, healthy meal to grab in-between your classes or after a long day at school.
- Pre-cut all of your vegetables and keep them in storage bags in your refrigerator for quick-cooking
- For even quicker cooking, pre-cook your vegetables before storing
- Use premade broths and stocks from Uwajimaya, 99 Ranch and Trader Joe’s for an inexpensive and more nutritious alternative to salty packets. If you want to go the extra mile, make your own stocks.
- An excellent dish for the use of thinly sliced cheap cuts of meat
- Talk to your fellow classmates who are from Japan or live in Seattle Japanese homes. They are a great source of information and inspiration.
- Check out these informational websites to learn more about Ramen and retrieve recipes that will have you saying “Sayōnara!” to the packaged variety:
Ramen Road (blog)
Find the ingredients at Seattle Asian markets such as Uwajimaya, 99 Ranch Market and HT Oaktree Market where the quality is high and the prices are low. You may also want to strike up a conversation with other grocery customers to find out their favorite Ramen recipe.
Want to try the real deal before you make it yourself? Visit one of these Seattle restaurants that serve authentic Ramen:
- Samurai Noodle (Downtown)
- Fu Lin (International District – end of the bus tunnel line)
- Aloha Ramen (Greenwood/Phinney Ridge)