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The Ramen Girl

Ramen 2010
All the ramen I ate in 2010. Total number: 40 45.

That’s a bowl of ramen roughly every 7 days!

Hi. My name is Chloe and I’m a ramenholic.

It all started when I was 4. Homemade ramen was a common 3PM snack at home. My mom’s delicious, from-scratch, bastardized Chinese version had curly ramen noodles, shredded chicken, and hard-boiled eggs.  I ate it with a toast slathered with butter or a roll, dunking pieces of the bread into the hot broth.  Fast forward to today.  I have constant vivid visions of bowls with steaming, glistening broth and chewy, yellow noodles. The mere memory of the smell of the savory soup is enough to drive me nuts. Enough that I’ve missed appointments, driven like a maniac, taken detours, circled the city like a madman, worked my day around kitchen times… just to get to a ramen place.  Luckily, there are great places in the city that can feed my ramen addiction. Foursquare mayorships? Check.  Of three places? Check. Check. Check.

Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup, derived from the Chinese, that consists of egg noodles and broth. There are different types of broth and many kinds of toppings. The four kinds of ramen categorized into flavor bases are: tonkotsu (made with pork bones), shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), and miso (fermented soybean paste). Each has a distinctive taste. All are delicious. Common toppings include roast pork, seafood, chicken, pickled ginger, pickled mustard leaves, seaweed, bamboo shoots, boiled eggs, and mushrooms. It is a comforting dish and a complete meal, good in any weather.

IMG_6115

While there are many restaurants to get ramen all over the city, the best true Japanese ramen in Atlanta can be found in four places. Topping the list at number one is none other than: Yakitori Jinbei. The tonkotsu ramen here is nothing short of excellent. The ultimate comfort and happy food –  you know, food that makes you happy when you eat it. The broth, made with pork bones simmered for hours is milky, creamy, and rich. It has that silkiness feel in your mouth.  The taste is so bold and rich.  So balanced.  Thin slices of fork-tender roast pork top the soup. Yellow ramen noodles that are chewy are plentiful.  You haven’t tasted ramen this good in this city.

Ramen 2010

Hi, my name is Chloe and I’m the foursquare mayor of Haru. Haru Ichiban is the only place in the city that serves all four kinds of ramen. Their tonkotsu ramen comes a close second to Jinbei. This is where Atlanta sushi chefs go to eat ramen.  The broth is as bold and and as rich. You can taste the creaminess in the soup. It comes in a humongous bowl and topped with the traditional pickled ginger. It also has lots of seaweed and pickled mustard leaves. It’s hearty. The noodles are eggy and chewy. The roast pork slices are thicker. Come early in the day when the broth is fresh as it tends to get on the salty side towards the end of the night.

Ramen 2010 Ramen 2010

The most memorable ramen I’ve had this year came as a surprise. It’s from none other than Taka. I’ve been to Taka numerous times but never had the ramen.  I tasted it when he first started serving lunch a few weeks ago. It was the most delicious, mind-blowing soy sauce-based broth I have ever tasted. Let me tell you, the wow factor was beyond belief. And it’s been constantly haunting me.  Chewy noodles that are thickish, sourced from Japan, are allowed to swim in Taka’s magnificent broth.  It has the perfect saltiness. Light but bold in flavor. It has hard-boiled eggs and huge pieces of pork belly. This, my friends, is a five-star shoyu ramen.

Ramen 2010

Hi, my name is Chloe… you get the picture now, right?  Second to Taka, Blue Fin Sushi in Duluth puts out the best chashu shoyu ramen. I grew up eating food from the chefs here who used to work at now defunct SakanaYa. Did you know, I’ve also seen Taka here? The clientele here is mostly Japanese and Korean, thanks to the golf course around back.  The soy sauce-based broth has deep, rich flavors. Soy sauce is used to enhance and season, and does not overpower the true taste of the broth. The noodles here are thin yet chewy. Each bowl comes topped with 5 glorious slices of tender roast pork. Filling, yes.  Good, absolutely.

Four amazing ramen places. Four chances to get your fill.  What are you waiting for?

Oh, by the way, you have to see the movie.  I’m not a drama/chick-flick kind of girl (explosions, guns, blood, and violence are more my thing) but my lovely friend Jen got me into it.  Ramen in a movie — what’s not to love?

Yakitori Jinbei
Yakitori Jinbei on Urbanspoon
2421 Cobb Pkwy SE
Smyrna, GA 30080
(770) 818-9215

Haru Ichiban
Haru Ichiban on Urbanspoon
3646 Satellite Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 622-4060

Taka Sushi Cafe
Taka Sushi Cafe on Urbanspoon
375 Pharr Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30305
(404) 869-2802

Blue Fin Sushi
Blue Fin Sushi on Urbanspoon
2863 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Duluth, GA 30097
(770) 232-5004

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17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 HC // Dec 13, 2010 at 9:00 am

    I recommend going up to NYC and try Ichiran, or Hakata Ippudo

  • 2 Noodlehead // Dec 13, 2010 at 9:45 am

    What? No mention of Shoya Izakaya? They’ve got 5 or 6 different kinda of delicious ramen. I’d like to know how they compare to the ones you mentioned.

  • 3 Chloe // Dec 13, 2010 at 9:52 am

    @Noodlehead: I did go to Shoya and had their ramen a few times. Been to most places with ramen in Atlanta. All meh.

    @HC: Been there. Plus a few others including Momofuku. But this post is about Atlanta.

  • 4 Vince // Dec 13, 2010 at 11:25 am

    No Umaido? I thought they would be on your list…

  • 5 Chloe // Dec 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Vince, don’t you not know me by now? I don’t like Umaido. Their tonkotsu broth is bland. The spicy version gives it a little flavor but I’m still not a fan. I did go there maybe 4 times this year.

  • 6 Chloe // Dec 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    @Noodlehead: Shoya’s oden soup is fantastic, though.

  • 7 Food Near Snellville // Dec 13, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Talking about Japanese food movies, with noodles even, and no mention of Tampopo?

  • 8 Chloe // Dec 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Omg, FnS, I forgot about Tampopo. Saw that when I was young. Had a childhood crush on Ken Watanabe ever since :)

  • 9 Ashley Anderson // Dec 13, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    I’m reminded of the Kikkoman Superhero animation I saw a few years back. The refrain “Show me! Show you (choyu?)” makes much more sense now:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VLAenkXsvQ&feature=related

    And I will be hitting up all these fine restaurants, being myself a burgeoning ramenoholic. Thanks!

  • 10 Ming // Dec 15, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Ahh! Another Ramen lover!

    Perfect timing for this post as Ramen season is in full force the last few weeks. I’ve been waiting on this post since you talked about writing it ;) awhile ago.

    I’ve been to all of those except Yakitori Jinbei. Thanks for the great reviews! I did go to Shoyo once and had their spicy ramen which was pretty good. I heard the owner there also owns / owned Haru? I could be totally wrong though..anyways enough typing.. it’s ramen time!

  • 11 AsianCajuns (Lar) // Dec 21, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Hi Chloe!!! I saw this post a few days ago on Scoutmob, but I kept meaning to say Thank You Thank you!!! I love ramen. Love it! Love it so much I sat through the (really, really bad) movie “Ramen Girl” just hoping it would get better ;)
    Hope you are having a great holiday season!

  • 12 Cassie // Jan 2, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Ah, come on… Ramen Girl wasn’t so bad. :)

    Hi Chloe! I was wondering if you have a blog a Facebook page where I can keep up with your Ramen adventures? I would love more suggestions!

  • 13 Raku Tonkatsu + Ramen | Eat It, Atlanta // Mar 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    [...] dominant force of ramen consumption in Atlanta met up with me at RAKU for lunch last week, and even though this post is riding on her coat tails, [...]

  • 14 The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Last week: Onigiri @ Miso Izakaya // Mar 18, 2011 at 7:20 am

    [...] all know by now how much of a ramen freak I am. If not, you’ve been hiding under a rock Anyway, (my sister and) I always, always [...]

  • 15 Raymond Rau // May 7, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Hey Chloe,

    I am visiting Atlanta for work for a week at the end of this month.

    I am also a Ramen fanatic from Southern California so I have a great selection of GREAT Ramen to choose from here.

    It is my mission whenever I go out of town to find and eat the most delicious Ramen places.

    Would these 4 be the best to try while I am there? Are they conducive to eating alone =(

    HAha…look forward to your input…

  • 16 Raymond Rau // May 28, 2012 at 1:27 am

    I am here in Atlanta and ready to get my Ramen on…anyone want to join?

  • 17 Gary // Oct 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Is there really a restaurant called Ramen Girl, like in the movie?

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