Ramen Night by Sun Noodle & Ramen Lab NY.

12月7日

It’s been a long time coming but I’ve finally managed to make some time to post what I call a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Okay so maybe I won’t go that far, but I have to admit it was a great and rare opportunity. What am I rambling about? Ramen Night by Sun Noodle & Ramen Lab NY. Yes you heard me, Ramen Night.

Ramen is what many Japanese dub as their “soul food.”  Ramen to a Japanese person is what you could probably consider fast food to an American.  It’s everywhere in Japan….probably more abundant and available than a Starbucks in your neighborhood.  Here in Hawaii, there may not be as many Ramen-ya’s as there are in Japan but locals still get to pick and choose where they want to go and what type of style they want.

Style, just like any fashionista, Ramen is dressed up to bring out its own identity. Throughout the different regions in Japan, Ramen is served in a variety of ways through its base broth….Shoyu, Shio, Tonkotsu, Miso…..the list goes on…many of today’s chefs even go a step further and introduce hybrids and other new flavors.  That’s why when I heard that local noodle producer and distributor Sun Noodle was going to fly in their executive chef Shige Nakamura, dubbed one of Japan’s 4 “devas” or “Gods” of Ramen, from New Jersey, I circled November 25 on my calendar – Ramen Night.

Many people perceive a local Kalihi-based company like Sun Noodle as a small operation dedicated solely to serving locals.  You would be wrong…they’re actually a lot bigger than you think.  Hidehito Uki, the founder and owner of Sun Noodle has taken a small local operation and turned it into a noodle empire, making their presence known on a national level with factories in Los Angeles and New Jersey.  Ramen Lab NY was founded by Chef Nakamura and Sun Noodle New Jersey General Manager Kenshiro Uki to produce tailor-made noodles and broths for chefs across the country.

Ramen Night was the brainchild of Hawaii Sun Noodle employee Hisae Uki, who wanted to share her Sun Noodle/Ramen Lab NY food fair and pop-up experiences in New York with locals.  With the help and support of Chef Nakamura, Kenshiro and host site Lucky Belly—Ramen Night was born.

RAMEN NIGHT!!

RAMEN NIGHT!!

Word got out that Sun Noodle was putting on this event, becoming a hot topic on the social networks.  My friends (@StarletShay @Nanigurl @Incurablepicure @NadineKam) and I knew we had to get their early to avoid waiting in a long line and to make the first seating as the event according to Hisae would be first-come-first serve.  The event started at 5pm, we got there at 4:15, as the second party in line. It’s a good thing we went early, I was latter informed  that the line got pretty long and though the event was slated to end at 11pm, Ramen Night was sold out by 8:30!

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The line for Ramen Night got pretty long as darkness neared.

Once seated you had a choice of 3 different types of Ramen: Tonkotsu, Shoyu and the chefs special creation, Italian. Of course you can’t just have one, so as a group we ordered all 3 and got a taste of everything.

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Old School Tokyo Ramen: Traditional chicken broth paired with shoyu base topped with charcoal grilled char siu. Wafu spinach, shoyu egg and bamboo shoots. $11.

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Tonkotsu Black Ramen: Deep and rich pork broth topped with charcoal grilled char siu, Cloud Ear mushrooms, scallions and drizzled with the chef’s secret black garlic essence. $11

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N.Y. Heritage Ramen: Italian inspired tomato broth topped with basil, crimini mushrooms, italian sausage and romano parmigiano-reggiano cheese. $13

The overall verdict? All 3 bowls of Ramen were unique and unlike the versions available here in Hawaii. All 3 did not disappoint. If I had to choose them in order of what I’d prefer, I’d go with the Shoyu first, which was the favorite amongst my party for its balance between the flavor of the broth and noodles not to mention the shoyu egg.  The Italian for its savory flavor and fatter chewier noodles.  My last choice would be the Tonkotsu which despite the cloudy broth, was not at all overbearing allowing for much depth of flavor even behind the garlic essence.

Kudos to the Sun Noodle and Ramen Lab NY team for putting on such a great event, I along with many others, hope they will make a return visit to Hawaii soon.

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