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PDX: Ramen Ryoma

Even in the city full of ramen, there could only be one that reigns as king. To many, that’s Raman Ryoma. There is something to say about it based on where the restaurant is located. Sitting just outside of the Japanese grocery shop Uwajimaya, this place has always been crowded, even when the sky was pouring rain outside. I feel like part of the charm is the attachment to an “authentic” Japanese supermarket, as imagined by many that the food served here must be good enough to satisfy the local Japanese population who happens to do their weekly grocery run here. In a similar vein, my friends swore by Santouka Ramen at Mitsuwa, a rival Japanese supermarket chain. There is probably some truth to this, just look at Always Spring at G-mart. The irony is that Ramen Ryoma is outside of the supermarket proper; the food court in Uwajimaya is a Chinese barbecue stall.

We almost had a party of 10. Ramen Ryoma has a long table that could host us, but the wait would be horrible. The silver lining for everyone who bailed last minute was that the wait for a small party is manageable. We walked for a little in the supermarket just before the call to be seated. There were too many people, especially on a wet Friday night with a chance of snow.

Ramen Ryoma serves shoyu, shio and miso soup bases. The difference in prices only pertain to the toppings in the bowl. One isn’t missing much going for the basic bowls, but how could anyone resist those fatty chashu pork or the gleaming half boiled egg? To hell with diets when you are eating ramen. I ordered the chashu shio ramen and added more slices of chashu; Megan got the corn butter miso ramen and I looked at her curiously. It sounds very unhealthy and a little odd to stick butter into a bowl of ramen.

Chashu Shio Ramen $10.85

The bowls of ramen came out quickly from the kitchen. That’s the charm of eating ramen, it is almost always ready. Just like instant noodles that are cook at home in 3 minutes. Come to think of it, shouldn’t this be called… fast food? Food for thought. My shio ramen has a rather clear broth and it was delicious. The chashu is fatty, the yellow wavy noodle is slurpy and the eggs are well done, in a half-boiled way. Ramen Ryoma pride themselves with the home-made noodles, even throwing some dry aging at it, but I do not know how to tell the difference. I thought these ramens were good and affordable, but nothing more. That’s until I had a taste of the corn butter.

Corn Butter Miso Ramen $10

It might be the butter, the sweet corn, or the miso base. Maybe the combination of all three. Whatever it is, Megan had the amazing taste to choose this bowl. The soup is very rich, almost a cross between corn chowder and ramen. I could not believe such awesome ramen could exist. I would drink the soup without the noodles or any of the toppings. That would be a horrible idea because the little bowl of ramen contains half a stick of butter, but man it is delicious. From now on, I would look much harder for such an experience.

Personally, I thought I liked Boxer better than Ryoma. I was never too picky with the nuance of soup base or noodle; therefore, the standout ramens were those with the best toppings. If anything, the soup was supposed to be dipping sauce for the noodle, and they were usually too salty to drink by themselves. After today, I understand that ramen soup bases can be delectable. Sure, anything with a stick of button is going to taste like heaven. (At that note, does that mean heaven taste like butter because of selective traits that were passed down in human for the love of fat via evolution? And if that does not taste like heaven, then would heaven be a place worth going?) However, there requires a foundation for the butter to stand on, and at Ryoma, the bowl of ramen was brought into the limelight with the introduction of a single ingredient. I don’t think I can give up on animal products purely because of butter. And from now on, I’m going to order butter ramen at every opportunity.

Ramen Ryoma

Visited: January 17th, 2020 at 1900 pm for dinner.
Address: 10500 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy, Beaverton @ Uwajimaya.
Website: www.ramenryoma.net

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