Rai-Rai Ken Noodle / medium-thick, chewy, high-protein Second Noodle / thin, chewy, straight
Yelp / 218 E 10th St, Manhattan, NY 10003 / (212) 477-7030
For ten years, Rai Rai Ken has been a standby ramen-ya in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan. Much of that reputation has to do with the shop's undisputed authenticity. From the bright red banners that welcome you, to the slatted backdrop framing the dining room, the owner Bon Yagi's vision was to offer people in New York a place to enjoy a delicious bowl of ramen in a similar setting you would find in Japan. That means serving the traditional shio, shoyu, and miso ramen. And more importantly, serving tailored noodles that complement each addictive broth.
Sun Noodle worked with Rai Rai Ken to bring Bon Yagi's vision to his noodles. Previously, Rai Rai Ken could only import one type of ramen noodle from Japan since the exchange rate was so high. Because Sun Noodle is based here in the U.S., we are able to provide them with fresh, customized noodles for their soups. We sourced different types of flour and tested different batches until we perfected Rai Rai Ken's noodles. One tailored noodle for their miso and curry ramen and another for their shio and shoyu ramen. Tailored noodles that didn't sacrifice Rai Rai Ken's honored ten-year Japanese noodle tradition.
Ramen Yebisu Ramen / thick, wavy, firm, very yellow
Website / 126 N 6th St, New York, NY 11211 / (718) 782-1444
Those of you still unfamiliar with Ramen Yebisu may only know Sapporo as a Japanese city or more likely, a Japanese lager. But get ready to equate Sapporo with its unique miso-style ramen. Executive Chef of Ramen Yebisu, Akira Hiratsuka, leads the charge in introducing both ramen enthusiasts and novices to a complex, comforting broth made from pork, chicken and lobster. This isn't just ramen for the taste buds, this is truly ramen for the soul.
Born and raised in Sapporo, Chef Akira honed his technique during its frigid winters. Since it's so face-numbingly cold, it became traditional to put lard in the soup to keep the soup hot. Chef Akira carries on this tradition, arming you with a deliciously warm arsenal against New York winters. Also traditional to Sapporo-style ramen, each bowl is made by the wok. The wok gives the miso a burnt flavor bursting in aroma and taste. For the noodles to retain its integrity during this process, the noodles are aged (jukusei) for 3 days to let the gluten develop fully and get firm. Sun Noodle has tailored Ramen Yebisu's firm noodle to hold its texture in the hot soup. Together with Chef Akira, Sapporo-style ramen will finally take its cold-winter legacy and have its moment in sun.
The Essence Noodle / thick, flat, chewy
Chef Shigetoshi Nakamura is the Michael Jordan of ramen chefs. Not only is he one of the most celebrated, artistic and innovative ramen chefs in Japan, he is also insanely fun to watch in the kitchen. So much so that Chef Nakamura actually has a trademark ramen "scoop" technique celebrated in ramen circles much like Jordan's dunk through mid-air is heralded on the court.
While Chef Nakamura's famous ramen shop, Nakamuraya, is in Kanagawa prefecture, he has moved stateside to educate people about ramen. He began by creating a new dining concept to enjoy ramen - a tasting menu called Essence. Essence is a dining experience where chef Nakamura deconstructs a bowl of ramen into a meal of 10 - 12 courses. Each dish changes with the season and the chef's mood. Sun Noodle has worked with Chef Nakamura since the conception of Essence, tailoring premium noodles to match with his varied dishes. Some are corn noodles, others are thick, flat and chewy noodles, while other noodles are blended with squid ink. It's a collaborative and often complex process to perfect the noodle to Chef Nakamura's standards, but more importantly, it's always rewarding and inspiring to work with a future ramen legend.
Chuko Shoyu Noodle / thin, wavy, chewyChuko Tonkotsu Noodle / thin, flouryChuko Miso Noodle / thick, chewy
Website / 552 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238 / (718) 576-6701
When you think of ramen, Prospect Heights in Brooklyn is not the first or even tenth New York City neighborhood your mind goes to. Though it seems just about right that this unexpected part of the city is home to Chuko's unique style of ramen. At Chuko's helm are three highly-skilled chefs, Jamison, Dave, and James, who have developed a trio of non-traditional but tasty ramen concoctions.
To pay proper tribute to these broths, Sun Noodle has worked with these chefs to develop a custom noodle trifecta. Whether it's the shoyu, tonkotsu or miso, the Chuko noodles are tailored to match the integrity of the broth. Tailored to be just as unique as this soon-to-be ramen institution.