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The Definitive Guide to Ramen & Life After Cup Noodles

ramen

Ramen – a dish that I crave regularly that gets put down by those who don’t truly understand why it’s so damn delicious.

Think about it – have you ever had a bowl of ramen? You know, a real bowl of ramen, one that’s not microwaved for about 3 minutes in a Styrofoam cup? If not, then you, my friend, have a lot to learn.

This is real ramen:

Shinsengumi

mabo-ramen

This is instant ramen:

Instant-bowl-noodles

Instant-Lunch

Instant-noodles-store

You see the difference?

Up until I went to college, I never had a bowl of ramen from a restaurant, and never actually had any inclination to order one. If I could buy a cup for less than a dollar and have it ready to eat in under 5 minutes, why would I have (or even want) to pay “premium” price for something I could eat in my room? Reluctant to spend seven bucks on a bowl, I took a sip of faith and felt like I was alive for the first time. Right now you might be thinking, “Ramen is ramen, what’s the big fuss?” and I don’t blame you. However, let’s do a quick comparison below:

This is a burger from McDonald’s:

McDonald's Burger

This is a burger from The Playground in Downtown Santa Ana, California:

Playground Double Foie Burger

Hopefully, this is clicking somewhere in your brain that there’s more to ramen than just dry packets that you add hot water to.

The main picture here basically boils down to convenience vs. quality. College meant eating cheap food, and instant noodles just so happened to be one of the cheapest, easiest foods to dish up. Coming from a less-than-middle class background, I also grew up eating ramen because you could feed an entire family of 6 for very little when you buy those noodles in bulk.

Before I continue and before you complain that ramen noodles are sodium bombs, let’s make a few things clear. Think about what you’re eating for lunch, or how much salt is in that burger combo you had for lunch yesterday. There’s a good chance that they have the same amount of sodium, so don’t whine until you’ve had an actual bowl!

Styles

Moving on, there are tons of different ramen styles depending on the location. For comparison’s sake, think of the all-American burger. All across the states, you can find burgers with cheese, bacon, French fries, BBQ sauce, California Roll ingredients, you name it.

In Japan, there are 26 different types of ramen. However, for the sake of keeping things simple in this article, we will cover the four most common flavor types: shio, shoyu, miso, and tonkotsu (not to be confused with tonKATsu, which is breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet).

Shio

santouka

Shio literally means ‘salt’ in Japanese and is one of the oldest of the four soup bases. Generally the shio broth has a clear yellowish color than the other bases listed below. The above, however, is a tad bit red because I was lucky enough to order a spicy version (good luck ordering spicy shio, aka karashio, at a Santouka near you).

Shoyu

shoyu-ramen

Shoyu, which means ‘soy sauce,’ is another old-school ramen soup base. While brown in color, the soup is usually light, salty and savory.

Miso

miso-ramen

[H/T + PicThx Shizuoka Gourmet]

Miso paste is used in the soup base and is the newest of the bunch. This type of broth is generally thicker, richer, and has a slight sweetness to it.

Tonkotsu

black-garlic-oil-tonkotsu-ramen

Tonkotsu, which means ‘pork bone,’ is my favorite of the three broths and just so happens to be the fattiest one. Tonkotsu is very similar to shio ramen, but is made with pork bones that have been boiling over high heat for hours, resulting in this cloudy, fatty, white-colored broth that is the most savory of the four. I could eat tonkotsu ramen every day if I could.

Noodles

Since I grew up eating the instant packets of ramen, I was only familiar with the dry, curly, Justin Timberlake-like yellow noodles that you could totally eat raw. However, the types of noodles in these bowls all depend on the style of ramen that you’re feasting on. But, without going into the specifics of region, location, and the history behind each bowl, I’ll just say that you’ll typically find these familiar curly noodles, as well as thin, straight noodles.

curly-noodles

ramen-noodles

Toppings

Since the instant packets usually just came with gross, dried vegetables, I rarely ever had any toppings besides the occasional mixed egg and random greens from the fridge. As you can see from the pictures, I never expected to eat my noodles with such tender pork slices. In a typical bowl of ramen, you will usually find thin slices of chashu (braised pork that typically omits the sugar and five-spice powder from its Chinese counterpart), scallions, and slices of bamboo. Other favorites include dried seaweed, boiled egg, one slice of naruto (cured fish) and corn.

yamadaya-ramen       toppings-ramen

chashu-close-up

foo-foo-tei

Although traditionally a Chinese dish, Japanese ramen has clearly deviated in taste, toppings, and style from its original predecessor. Thanks to food blogs, Yelp, and the growing number of foodies who Instagram, ramen shops have gained traction and are on the rise in big cities. While some restaurants serve ramen among their other food items, there’s a high chance that you’d get a more delicious bowl if you went to a ramen shop. Of course, there are exceptions, but this is generally the case.

If I could have you try something new this year, it would definitely be to try the four different types of ramen. Hell, you could even just buy higher quality ramen at an Asian market. Do yourself a favor and walk to the refrigerated section; you should see the packets hanging out next to the refrigerated udon noodles and potsticker wrappers. If you can’t read Japanese, just read the price tags and look for the English there. It is so worth the extra cash.

Refrigerated-ramen

Proof it exists.

So eat, chomp, and slurp if you want to! I know what I’m eating tonight and you’re always welcome to join.

H/T + PicThx Kobi’s Kitchen, GO RAMEN!, Shizuoka Gourmet & Wikipedia

Categories
Technology

CES 2013: A ‘Smart’ Fork That Measures Your Fork Servings Per Minute & Helps You Diet

ces13_hapiforkIf you’ve ever had a problem eating too much, or are just trying to watch what you eat, this ‘smart’ fork may be what you’re looking for. Unveiled at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the HAPIfork is an electronic fork that measures your fork servings per minute, intervals between those servings, and total meal time. The fork (or spoon, which will also be available) then transmits this information via USB so you can track your progress through its online dashboard or mobile app.

French engineer Jacques Lépine, inventor of the HAPIfork, spent several years working on the product after landing in the hospital for a severe heartburn that closely resembled a heart attack due to his quick eating habits.

Slated for an April release, HAPIforks could be one of the best and most revolutionary tools for maintaining a healthy diet. Complete with a full 21-day coaching program that provides videos, tips, and balanced meal plans, the ‘smart’ forks and spoons are expected to sell for roughly $99, come in a variety of colors and be fully water-proof.

Visit the HAPILABS website to check out more information about the HAPIfork or to place your pre-order today.

H/T LA Times

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Panda Sushi, Bacon Pretzel Buns and the Best Food Instagram Photos of the Week [11/09/12]

Hope everyone’s having a great week! Here we are with this week’s Top 6 Instagram Food Photos. Please be sure to tag your Instagram photos with #FOODBEAST for a chance to be featured in next week’s set. Enjoy this week’s top picks:

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1. SLAMON SALMON

Smoked Salmon Benedict atop potato pancakes. #smokedsalmon #salmon #potato #pancakes #fish #seafood #fresh #eggs #hollandaise #delicious #salad #brunch #crunchy #creamy #fancy #pinay #dtla #downtown #losangeles #california #foodbeast — @rawritslulu

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2. Bacon Pretzel Bun? DOES NOT COMPUTE.

The Vargas Special. Bacon Pretzel Bun, Onions Strings, Tomato, Monterrey Spiced Beef, Deep Fried Bacon Strips covered with Secret BBQ Sauce. –– @taylorcorner

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3. Bravo Affogato

Wafflegato with chocolate covered strawberry flavored gelato! — @drummerxaki

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4. Ofa Chocolate Style

Ofa’s cookie#stuffed with#Nutella#milkchocolate#penutbutter#topped with #caramel#marshmillow — @chocolici0us

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5. PANDA-MONIUM!

#cute #asian #sushi #food #kawaii #japanese #dessert #delicious #instagood #instafood #dinner #pretty #vintage #cute #kids #kid #love #sweet #animal #panda #cake #foods #doubletap #followforfollow #hello #today #night — @iiloveefood

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6. This One Takes the Cake

Finishing touches can make the cake. But sometimes it’s just about the #chocolate #treatyourself — @zarosbakery

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Top 6 Instagram Food Photos This Week [11/02/12]

Damn, is it really November already? This week’s Top 6 Instagram Food Photos didn’t exactly wrap up October the way I wanted (hint: gory, nasty, Halloweeny foods and stuff), but I think the pictures make up for it. I guess you could say that I was… falling… for them. After all, they all look pretty… sweet. And now… I’ll shut up.

Remember to use #FOODBEAST in your Instagram photos and hopefully your photo will be up next week! Enjoy:

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1. This Bread Pudding Dessert — Pudding Other Desserts to Shame

oreo bread pudding with choc ice cream and cocoa poprocks! @chefgeoffs #foodbeast #foodporn #dessert #chocolate — @aliciagriffin

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2. Wouldn’t Mind Rolling to Lunch With This Guy

Yesterday’s lunch (: — @coinkydink

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3. The Breakfast Special AKA The ‘Itis Inducer

The Breakfast Special. One of the many reasons why Mate’s Korner is the best sammich shop. — @reach_hard

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4. I Wish I Could Smell It.

nothing better — @7cheeky

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5. Dessert Round 2 Looks Down Right Fierce**

Desserts round 2 — @itsltdan

**Many Internets to the person who gets the reference.

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6. Hey Look! Matching ‘Chocolate Drizzle’ Halloween Outfits!

Too #sexy for words, so i’ll just use hashtags. #yum #dessert#chocolate#chocolatecake #rihanna #delish #yummy #food #igfood #boston #masshole #foodie #foodporn #foodaholic #foodgasm#instayum#instafood #sharefood #carbs — @mariaalexag

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Top 6 Instagram Food Photos This Week [10/26/12]

Whelp, I didn’t quite get the scary pictures as I was hoping for this week’s set, but I found these awesome 6 pictures instead! This week’s Top 6 Instagram Food Photos were tough to sift through, and baby, that’s a good thing. Keep up with the photos, and keep tagging your foodie pics with #FOODBEAST. Enjoy the set:

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1. So Green With Envy

Savory Pain Perdu with Pancetta, Avocado, & Baby Kale. @Fixcoffeeco NOW! 🙂 #nofilter #brunch #popup #breakfastisserved — @creme_caramel_la

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2. Tuna or Later, You WILL Be Mine

Home made tartare red tuna and shrimps #tartare #entree #instafood #foodsex #foodporn #redtuna #shrimps #foodporn –– @notoriusnou

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3. No Time To Chicken Out on this Perfectly Healthy Lunch

#foodbeast #foodporn #nofilter #instagood #shainaporn #food #lunch Panko chicken sandwich, house pickels, truffled mayo, beer battered fries — @slight89

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4. Xmas Came Early

” xmas lunch ” — @gportatil

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5. Does Anyone Else Feel Dirty Looking at This?

The meat and tidy cross section — @jp_3ats

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6. You Got It, Boss.

Yo @foodbeast go ahead and put this up on the IG #foodbeast pic of the week @philgorgeous @elieayrouth @rudeluv — @whatsupwally

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Top 6 Instagram Food Photos This Week [10/19/12]

Hello all! Welcome to this Friday’s Top 6 Instagram Food Photos. As a reminder, be sure to tag your Instagram photos with #FOODBEAST for a chance to be featured next week! I’m hoping to see more Halloween entries, so get creative and put up some pics! Check out this week’s set:

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1. Take Your Tapa-ff!**

Tapas in the sunshine — @jj1980

** Pardon the TERRIBLE, terrible joke, but tapas literally means “lid,” and well, I guess it’d be a PUN-ishment to refrain myself from the title. Anywho… 

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2. CHEESUS!

Mac & cheese fried pie #foodbeast #foodporn #dalesfriedpies @dalesfiredpies — @justintfirefly

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3. Raw Food Porn, Not To Be Confused With Regular Porn

Amber jack #sushi #foodporn #foodbeast — @seanthefiend

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4. Sharing Would Be a Mis-STEAK

#foodbeast #foodlove #foodies #foodphotography #foodie #foodgasm #foodstamping #foodstamping #foodism #foodoftheday #delicious #ngonqua #yumyum #yummy — @libraq

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5. YOU FINALLY MADE IT, BRO!

At this point im just trying to make it on the #foodbeast weekly instagram food posts. cc: @elieayrouth @rudeluv @philgorgeous — @aleximking

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6. No SLAWS (get it?) With This Meal

Fried Chicken with buttermilk slaw, garlic green beans, fingerling potatoes, and red chili vinegar. | @craftandcommercesd #gastropub #littleitaly #sandiego #foodie #instapic #foodgasm #foodpics #instagramhub #foodstagram #instafood #foodporn #foodspotting #iphoneography #statigram #foodstagram #instadaily #instagram #iphone4s #princessgourmet #bestoftheday #picoftheday #igers #igdaily #iphoneonly #iphonesia #photooftheday #foodbeast — @princessgourmet

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Top 6 Instagram Food Photos This Week [10/12/12]

Happy Friday, Foodbeasts! Here are this week’s Top 6 Instagram Food Photos to make your stomach hate you if you’re viewing on an empty stomach. Remember to tag your Instagram photos with #FOODBEAST for a chance to be featured in our next set. Have a delicious weekend, and tune in again next week!

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1. Egg-Celente Breakfast!

Breakfast Croque. — @maneatmanila

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2. A Berry Good Way to Tart Your Day

Raspberry fruit tart! — @eliiseeee

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3. Old Wang. Lawlz.

Famous Spicy Beef Noodle at Old Wang Beef Noodle Soup King (Taoyuan) in #Taipei — @darthski

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4. This Pudding Would Make a Man Go Crazy

Manggo pudding #foodporn #instafood #instagood #instadaily #iphonesia #iphonography #iphotography — @louiseanastasya

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5. SEE YA LAYER, CHOCOLATE!

— @liatorr955

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6. Snacks, on Snacks, on Snacks

#instafood#yemek#foodpics#insta#sweet#igersturkey#foodie#foodism#sharefood#cake#bakery#foodphotography#yemekfotografciligi#sweet#foodporn#foodpics#yummy#tat#foodies#foodstagram#gununfotografi#delicious#Culinary#gastronomia — @tufanozyamak

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

6 Beautiful Instagram Food Photos, Shaped Like Circles [10/03/12]

This week’s Top 6 Instagram Food Photos are sponsored in part by circles and viewers like you, because for some weird-reason, all the best foods this week are shaped like circles. But, obviously the best foods aren’t shaped like circles and can best be described by Jonah Hill in Superbad. Anywho, you all know the rules! If you’re on Instagram, please tag your food photos with #FOODBEAST for a chance to be featured next week. Check out and enjoy this week’s set:

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1. ZOMG Risotto Balls!

zomg risotto balls of the month from @taylorgourmet spicy sausage!! — @aliciagriffin

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2. Bison Chili Inside a Bread Bowl

Bison chili in a bakery fresh bread bowl with melted cheddar and sour cream on top, topped with Spanish smoked paprika and dried cilantro! — @igorsmoke

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3. Oh Fudge….

Nutella fudge — @anoudish

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4. Shrimp Montadito

Shrimp montadito. One of the best things EVER! #barcelona #food #foodbeast #tapas #spain — @kimandphilphoto

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5. Is This the Season Finale to Life?

And the finale… #Pizza #FoodBeast — @chalochocorrol

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6. Dat. Broth.

Dinner ♥♥ i need to stop eating….ㅠㅠ — @ahrakom