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One of my mom’s favorite meals is authentic Japanese ramen. The only place where she can find such high quality ramen is Japan; and, even there, sometimes, it can be hit or miss. My mom favors classic ramen such as shio (a clear, salt-based broth). Even harder to find than shio is vegetarian ramen. Traditionally, ramen is stocked with chicken or pork base. In Japan, if you are a vegetarian, and unless you are in a trendy neighborhood in Tokyo, you are out of luck and out of ramen.
Unless you are in the United States where there is no cultural history of ramen.
Vegetarian Ramen is on the menu at Ramen House Shinchan.
Scroll down to see more photos and read more about Ramen House Shinchan.
“The Takoyaki tastes very good with a breading that isn’t thick or chewy. The flavors mix together very well. The tako pieces are diced just right with a nice texture!”
So, I was talking to the Barista at Hansa Coffee Roasters nested inside Barbara’s Bookstore at Hawthorn Mall, when we were in the middle of a conversation about Sawada Coffee at Fulton Market District downtown, that the Barista mentioned that he knew Hiroshi Sawada. I said that I was disappointed that I did not meet him when I visited Sawada Coffee, but I was excited to try his amazing coffee creations. Then I asked the Barista if he had tried the ramen restaurant below Sawada Coffee, called High Five Ramen. The Barista said that he had, and that it was good. I asked him if he had tried the ramen at Ramen House Shinchan.
He had not. But his eyes suddenly got big, and it looked like electricity was crackling through him from his feet to the crown of his head.
The Barista had heard good things about Ramen House Shinchan, so good that one of his friends had tried the ramen, and he said that it was the best ramen he had tasted since he had been to Japan. And they offered a vegetarian ramen.
Now I was crackling with electricity.
Lisa, my mom and I were ecstatic about visiting Ramen House Shinchan. We were on a mission from Japan to try vegetarian ramen and experience the high quality ramen that we had heard and read so much about from friends and media reviews. Now it was our time.
We decided to order two bowls of Vegetarian Ramen, one topped with tamago (soft-boiled egg), and another topped with menma (bamboo shoots). The bowls of ramen at Ramen House Shinchan are more than generous. For the ravenous and voracious, a bowl of ramen will beat back the beast of hunger. For everyone else, a ramen bowl might best be shared between two diners, then paired with a side order from the Special Menu. This advice is very important because ramen cannot be taken home and reheated. Doggy will not get a bag.
My mom wanted me to mention one more bit of advice. This is for the slow eaters, gabby diners and first-time ramen enthusiasts:
“Eat the ramen noodles while they are fresh and the broth is hot so that the ramen noodles don’t become soggy from absorbing the broth.”
And with that we were served. A side order of Takoyaki (octopus puffs) was presented along with two bowls of Vegetarian Ramen. We requested small bowls so that we could enjoy smaller portions of each ramen. Six takoyaki meant that there would be no fighting among us three. Ohashi (chopsticks) in hand, we were more than ready.
Lisa picked up one of the takoyaki with her ohashi, made sure that she had enough takoyaki sauce and bonito, brought it up close to view, and popped it in her mouth. Now, Lisa loves takoyaki. I was curious to see how well these were appreciated. Lisa looked pleased, “The Takoyaki tastes very good with a breading that isn’t thick or chewy. The flavors mix together very well. The tako pieces are diced just right with a nice texture!”
Everyone was in agreement about the takoyaki. I am one with the takoyaki. The takoyaki is with me. Two takoyaki helpings done, and nobody had any takoyaki.
It was time to try the Vegetarian Ramen. We served ourselves from each of the two larger bowls. We made sure to have enough toppings to distinguish between the different flavors.
“The Vegetarian Ramen has a nice flavor! The soup base is creamy. It doesn’t taste like it’s vegetarian because the flavor is so deep and rich. I really like the ramen noodles! The curly noodles have a fresh egg taste.”
The lights dimmed at Ramen House Shinchan. A soft spotlight focused on my mom and her small bowl of Vegetarian Ramen. All the diners and staff were still and silent. My mom fished her ohashi through a modest group of ramen noodles. She pulled them up high to collect them like strands of silk. Japanese style, she slurped them quicker than the eye could see. My mom spooned some of the creamy broth, raised the spoon to her lips, and took a sip. She set down her spoon’s curved tail along the rim of the bowl. Nobody moved. Steam hissed from an open pot in the kitchen. We waited. My mom proclaimed, “The Vegetarian Ramen has a nice flavor! The soup base is creamy. It doesn’t taste like it’s vegetarian because the flavor is so deep and rich. I really like the ramen noodles! The curly noodles have a fresh egg taste.” The dance of life at Ramen Shinchan House started again.
Lisa and I really loved the creamy but light broth of the Vegetarian Ramen. We also agreed that the ramen noodles tasted so fresh and lively. While the portions are more than generous, there are options to split a bowl and pair a side order from the Special Menu. This was the best ramen that we have tasted since our most recent visit to Japan. We don’t need to fly to Japan for our next bowl of ramen. As the crow flies, a short trip is in order for Shinchan House Ramen.
To see the full menu at Ramen House Shinchan, visit Ramen House Shinchan
To see more photos of Ramen House Shinchan, follow my Instagram page at Instagram – The Simple Luxuries
Dedicated to my Mom. Happy Birthday!
“My camera is my witness. My blog is my voice.” ©2020