Asia Report #10 - Use Your Noodle Pt. 2
After our little field trip to the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, how could we be in the mood for anything but those delicious noodles in broth. Luckily, a fantastic ramen joint was just a stone's throw away. The restaurant turned out to be Menou Momofukutei, a lovely serene space inside and out, staffed by super cool, young Japanese men and women. It was fairly empty but we still sat at the counter that faced the kitchen. There was no English menu, but we managed to place an order for 2 bowls of shoyu (soy sauce based broth) ramen.
We were presented with small glasses of iced tea while we waited for our ramen. Meanwnile, I looked through all the little bamboo bowls and containers filled with various condiments such including pickled plum and mustard greens, and chili oil. There was also a grinder full of multicolored peppercorns and one full of sesame seeds.
Our ramen was earthy and delicious. It was centered around two pieces of succulent pork and joined by a chicken meatball, a white square of fishcake, some brown wood ear-esque mushroms (that I didn't particulary care for), spinach stalks, pickled bamboo, green onion and burdock root. Additionally, there was a gorgeous half of a soft-boiled egg, its golden yolk just barely set. It wasn't just the bowl of noodles that made our meal, it was the atmosphere, the Coltrane on the stereo, the friendly waiter who kept refilling our iced tea glasses at the right moment (and eventually giving us a pitcher, which seems to be the norm there).
We should have been sated, but I am a pig and I hate not being able to read a menu. So when I saw some gyoza pass by, I had to order some. Little did I know, we would be served baby gyoza!
They were amazingly crispy on the edges and tender on the inside. I added some chili oil, cracked pepper and ground sesame seeds to the dipping sauce, as well as a dab of the ball of green stuff you can see in the top right corner. I'm not really sure what that was.
And then it was off to Koshien Stadium, home of the Hanshin Tigers and where Dan and I would have a completely unreal and unparalled baseball experience.