This weekend’s frigid winter weather has us all longing to hibernate until warmer days. But don’t let the cold stop you from going out. Just use it as an excuse to indulge in some heartwarming comfort food that will bring feeling back into your fingertips.
Back in December, we did a round-up of the best soups in Center City and now we’re coming back with the best ramen in town–for those of you who want all the comforts of Japanese food thrown into one large, steaming bowl.
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Forget Center City Sips…when the weather is as gray and nasty as it is today, it’s all about Center City soups.
But where are the best? Don’t worry. We went out and answered that question for you. Here’s a list of places that offer up the good stuff in any number of ways – creamy, spicy, tomato-y, you name it.
The best soups in Center City
Nom Nom Ramen, which has won a Best of Philly award for its ramen, has opened a second location, this one in University City. The new location opened yesterday in the food court at 34th and Walnut.
The menu is the same as the 18th Street location and will compete with coZara and Ramen Bar for University City ramen dominance.
Nom Nom Ramen [Official]
Center City’s Nom Nom Ramen has recently expanded and rearranged its menu. New sides include spicy edamame, blistering shishito peppers and crispy shrimp wrapped in noodles.
And also on the menu as a special, a wasabi seaweed salad with pickled daikon and ginger dressing.
At lunch today, we were quite pleased with the crispy shrimp which delivered a satisfying crunch and an aioli with kick. It was also the first time we ordered the Special Toroniku Ramen which adds bean sprouts, a soft boiled egg and slices of pork cheek to the ramen experience. It made for one filling and satisfying meal.
The new menu »
Brian Freedman finds Nom Nom Ramen to be a great success. He also tries out the Hiyahsi chilled noodle dish.
Karai miso sizzles with a pleasant, tingling heat. The broth itself, a creamy miso tonkotsu, glows sunset-toned, and the sweet-earthy black garlic sauce atop the pork belly provides an excellent counterpart. Hiyashi chilled ramen, perfect for this ridiculous heat wave we’ve been suffering through, is a cool plateful of noodles, chashu pork, mushrooms, tomago, thin-sliced cucumbers, bean sprouts and pickled ginger, dressed with a sesame-soy vinaigrette. It’s a light, flavorful option—perfect in the summer.
Nom Nom Ramen Is Every Bit As Satisfying As Its Name Suggests [Philadelphia Weekly]
Nom Nom Ramen [Official Site]
Yesterday, we had Part 1 of Trey Popp’s ramen adventure. Today, we present the conclusion, in which he and his faithful companion actually go and eat some ramen in an attempt to determine what the big deal is all about. ~JS
First, we went upscale.
To my palate—unschooled and therefore unspoiled by expectations—the pork belly ramen at Morimoto (above) was remarkable mostly for how thoroughly porky its broth was. As Asian soups go, my touchstones are the intensely aromatic soups of Thailand, and the heavily spiced and condiment-doused foe of Laos (the identical twin of Vietnamese pho, only spelled in accordance with a different transliteration system). The tonkotsu at Morimoto struck me as the product of a different priority: It was less about showing off its ancillary aromatics than emphasizing pork flavor to the nth degree. This it did splendidly, with a full-throated flavor but without the off-putting coagulation of fat that marred a subsequent bowl at Nom Nom Ramen. The noodles were cooked the way I like most noodles: Tender but retaining the spring promised by their kinks. On top were a couple quarter-inch thick slices of pork belly and a hard-cooked egg split down the middle (a minute or two past the soft-cooked egg the menu advertised). Still, it was pretty delicious. I’d slurp it up happily in the winter, though $15 is a stretch for any soup.
My friend the globetrotting ramen expert, though, dismissed the pork belly as inauthentically thick “window dressing.” But it was exquisitely tender, and the soup overall was good enough to win the Iron Chef’s “schtick” a pass in his book.
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A couple weeks ago, I tasked Philly mag’s food critic, Trey Popp, with what I thought was a fairly simple task: Go check out the ramen that has been on the menu at Morimoto forever and see how it stands up to all the newcomers in town. Unsurprisingly (in retrospect), he approached the assignment with a bit more…rigor than I expected. This is Part 1 of his ramen report. Check out Part 2 tomorrow. ~JS
I am a ramen virgin.
There, I said it. Can there be a more embarrassing ignorance for a Philly food writer to own up to in the spring of 2012? Ramen, as you’ve no doubt heard, is the next Next Big Thing. It’s this year’s Korean shortrib taco, the new hand-stretched fior di latte, the next Izakaya pop-up. And here I am, 12 years on from a 12-hour stint on Japanese soil—ten of them in a long-haul-layover coma and the rest waiting for a flight to five-dollar-a-day-land—trying to explain to my wife that there’s apparently more to ramen than peeling the top off a plastic cup and plugging the electric kettle into your dorm room wall.
Exactly how much more, though, is the question.
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Yesterday was the first day that Nom Nom Ramen was open for lunch. The Center City ramen spot will also be open today from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and again for dinner between 5 and 8 p.m.
The Grand Opening and regular hours are both “coming soon.”
With Philadelphia magazine offices just a half-block from Nom Nom Ramen there was no excuse to not be at 18th and Ludlow when the doors opened at Center City’s first dedicated ramen joint. When I arrived shortly before 5 p.m. there wasn’t so much a line as more than a dozen people hovering outside the front door.
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