Craving comforting soups on cold nights? I have two words for you: Strings Ramen! With spring yet to make its official entrance in Chicagoland, this is the perfect place to grab a bowl of fresh ramen and to indulge in authentic Japanese flavors while watching the world go and being warm and cosy.
Recently I got the chance to learn more about this famous dining spot located in the heart of Chicago’s Chinatown, when I was invited to celebrate String Ramen’s third anniversary. Myself and other fellow Chicagogrammers were given access behind the scenes, learned more about the ramen-making process and the history of this popular dish concept (which goes back two centuries), and sampled a variety of ramens to behold. Just the perfect thing to do when it’s cold (Chicago-style cold!) and the rain is pouring outside 🙂
We were welcomed with fresh oden, a Japanese winter dish made up of daikon radish, Berkshire pork sausage, fish cakes and deep fried tofu steeped in a light soy sauce based broth and served on skewers.
They also had “stringria” (aka sangria to you and me!) at the ready for their guests. So refreshing!
As the Strings Ramen pros revealed during the ramen making session, there are four main types of broths: shio (a simple, clear chicken broth), shoyu (a tangy, salty soy sauce based broth), tonkotsu (a creamy, cloudy white pork bone broth) and miso (a thick miso&chicken or miso&fish broth). A well thought out and executed broth can truly make or break a ramen.
String Ramen’s broths are made from scratch and do not contain MSG. With so many customers visiting daily, no wonder their broth pots are humongous!
At Strings Ramen, all elements of the ramen are given the care and attention they deserve. Hundreds of portions of noodles are made fresh daily for the discerning clientele, using professional noodle-making equipment brought straight from Japan.
Ramen noodles are ready in minutes and are quickly sent to the kitchen to be added to the broths. It can’t get any fresher than this!
Once you have fresh noodles and broth, it’s time to get creative in the kitchen! We were offered a variety of ramen dishes to taste, which epitomized the various traditional broths, flavors and textures Strings Ramen is famous for.
From the wholesome looking shoyu ramen bursting with seaweed, with narutomaki (sliced Japanese fish cakes) and a red ginger topping…
… to the miso ramen featuring an assortment of crab meat, scallops and shrimp…
… to the shio ramen made up of turkey, bean sprouts, narutomaki, scallion and corn with a soft boiled egg on top…
… and ending with the famous Hell ramen (five heat levels and the spiciest ingredients around! Enough said, lol) – all dishes looked appetizing and just perfect to eat on a cold winter night.
I promised the folks over at Strings Ramen that I will return another time for a sampling of their dishes, and I will report back here as soon as possible thereafter. The shio ramen looked like “my kind” of dish, and it will be my no#1 pick from their menu. As for hubby, I think he might be interested to explore the heat levels in the Hell ramen – after all, he really likes spicy foods. Be it shio or shoyu, spicy or mild, I will be going back 🙂
Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated by Strings Ramen for writing this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.