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Restaurants & Bars 5

Ramen Neophyte - Ryowa Ramen, Berkeley

lainielou | Jul 5, 200507:38 PM

Okay, so I have always wanted to love ramen. After seeing the movie, Tampopo, years ago in the theater, I've dreamt of steaming bowls of ramen. One problem: I don't eat fish and can't stand the taste or smell of it. Seaweed just about kills me. I have tried to retune my palate but to no avail. Melanie Wong posts such lovely reviews of ramen houses and the pictures are just torture - it all looks so delicious. Finally I asked Melanie if there was a way to order a non-fishy ramen so she pointed me towards Ryowa Ramen in Berkeley. THANK YOU!!!!!! I ordered the Original Ryowa Ramen with special noodles and no seaweed it was a lunch special that came with three pork gyoza and steamed or fried rice - I ordered fried. We also ordered chicken Kaa-rage - as I have always liked it and am fascinated by how different it is from restaurant to restaurant.

The ramen arrived at the table. I smelled it first and the prevalent smell came from the chopped green onions on top. The broth itself was almost milky which I assume is from the pork bones. It was delicious and not too greasy, just a few dots of fat on top. The noodles were firm and chewy but in a good way. The sliced pork was very, very tender and had hardly any fat. The gyoza were very nice - well cooked and still crisp on the pan seared side. The fried rice was very good, too. Can anyone explain the corn thing? I don't think of corn as a Japanese ingredient and there it was in the fried rice and there was the butter corn ramen - what's the deal with that? The kaarage was good - again different than I've ever had but still delicious although it was served with a salad on the side and what tasted like a big glob of miracle whip. I am so happy to have found ramen that I can dig into and eat - it was really delicious. I wasn't sure about the kim - chee stuff on the table - was I supposed to add that to the soup? They also had this other condiment but it looked like either green onion with chile sauce or it could have been seaweed, I asked my waitress (who was lovely) but her english was like my japanese - non-existent so I didn't take the chance. Any idea what is in that condiment? All in all a very happy experience. So much to learn about this new to me cuisine - it's like learning a new language!

Thank you, Melanie!

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