I’m a huge noodle soup lover, if you couldn’t already tell. 😉 And ramen is one of my favorites. But really, which noodle soup isn’t a favorite?! HAHA. I usually make instant Japanese miso ramen at home. If you go to the fridge section of the Asian Market, you will find a variety of fresh noodles, including pre-packaged fresh ramen noodles with soup packs. Soft boil an egg with runny yolk, blanch some bean sprouts, add some pickled menma bamboo shoots, finely chop scallions, grill some pork belly and TA DA I have a delicious bowl of wavey ramen noodles ready in minutes for dinner. Then I heard that there were a bunch of new ramen spots popping up around Baltimore. I had to go check them out. Let the Baltimore Ramen Tour begin peoples! And well … end very quickly HAHA. There are only like 3 ramen shops in town – TenTen Ramen in Mt. Vernon, Dooby’s in Mt. Vernon and Ejji Ramen in Belvedere Square.
I wasn’t WOW-ed by Baltimore ramen (not yet anyway), but there is definitely potential here. Each of these restaurants put their own spin on the dish. TenTen Ramen has some Chinese influences and items on their menu, Dooby’s offers a Korean influenced version and Ejji Ramen is an ‘edgy’ (you see what I did there? HAHA.) fusion of Malaysian-Japanese cuisine. If you’re just after coming home from a trip to Japan or NYC (they have great options for ramen in New York) and are craving a bowl of ramen, I’d recommend TenTen Ramen as it is the closest to the original version. If you’re looking for something different and fun, I’d recommend Ejji Ramen. They have a create-your-own ramen option where you can choose your broth, noodles, toppings and sauces. Unlike the other 2 establishments where ‘Ramen’ is in the business name itself, Dooby’s offers a variety of Korean inspired fusion dishes on their menu, ramen being just one of them.
So I got my calendar and set up lunch dates with my friend and embarked on our Ramen Tour. She joined us at TenTen Ramen on Wednesday and Ejji Ramen on Thursday and Kevin and I had dinner for two at Dooby’s on Saturday. And now on Monday, I’m ramen-ed out! 😉 Here are all the dishes we tried.
413 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen – thin and dense (toothsome) wheat noodle, tonkotsu style broth with sea salt tare, added house made la yu (hot oil) + topped with chashu, soy braised egg, menma (bamboo), bean sprout, nori and scallion.
Shoyu Ramen – thin and dense (toothsome) wheat noodle, tonkotsu style broth with soy sauce tare, topped with chashu, soy braised egg, menma (bamboo), bean sprout, nori and scallion.
Spicy Miso Ramen – thin and dense (toothsome) wheat noodle, tonkotsu style broth with three miso tare, added house made la yu (hot oil) + topped with chashu, soy braised egg, sweet corn, menma (bamboo), bean sprout, nori and scallion.
TenTen Ramen serves the most traditional version of Japanese ramen out of the three different restaurants. They offer Chinese dishes on their menu as well such as Braised Beef Noodle, Zha Jiang Mian (You have to go to a Korean-Chinese restaurant to properly enjoy this dish) and Dan Dan Noodles. When you walk in, they start shouting at you…which is a little strange HAHA. I’ve been greeted at Japanese sushi and ramen bars before in the same way, but it threw me off a little here. 🙂 I liked the charred flavor on the chashu pork. Wish they gave a bit more broth and the other half of that soft boiled egg. An overall enjoyable meal. Great start to the ramen tour.
529 E. Belvedere Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21784
Miso Ramen – miso corn broth, crisp shallots, corn, bamboo shoots, enoki mushroom, scallion and poached egg
Laksa Ramen – curry shellfish broth, crab, shrimp tempura, surf clams, bonito flakes, bean sprouts, fried tofu, basil and lime
Tonkotsu Ramen – pork broth with char su pulled pork, pork belly, miso egg, scallion
Sauces – Pickled Shisito, Scallion Ginger, Green Sambal, Sesame Garlic, Red Sambal, Yuzu Soy
Ejji Ramen is a fusion Malaysian-Japanese restaurant stall inside Belvedere Square. I love going to Belvedere Square for lunch – it’s bustling with shoppers and diners and feels so alive. You can ‘Be Ejji’ and create your own ramen in 4 steps – choose broth, noodle, toppings and sauce. It was our first time there so we ordered off their Ramen menu. I thought Ejji Ramen presented the best looking dishes out of the three restaurants. That Miso Ramen is such an eye-catcher! A long bamboo shoot intact and enoki mushrooms standing upright along the rim of the bowl – fantastic presentation! As they say, you eat with your eyes first. I found the miso ramen broth a tad bit too sweet, but that’s where the sauces come in. I think they want you to take advantage of their fresh homemade sauces, to enhance the soup’s flavor. Our server recommended the pickled shisito with the laksa, green sambal with the tonkotsu and red sambal for some heat in the sweet corn miso. They’ve only been open for a few weeks so I’ll give it some time and head back again for another taste. Service was quick and super friendly and I think they do a great job explaining to guests their menu.
802 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
Shoyu Ramen – sapporo noodles, chasu, sweet corn, bamboo shoots, nitamago (soft-boiled egg), kimchi, nori, sprouts
Miso Ramen – sapporo noodles, chashu, sweet corn, bamboo shoots, nitamago (soft-boiled egg), kimchi, nori, sprouts
I’ve been to Dooby’s on several occasions for a nice hot cuppa, but I’ve only been there once to eat. So it was a treat to go to Dooby’s for a proper sit down dinner over the weekend. Dooby’s menu offers loads of Korean and Asian inspired fusion dishes, ramen just being one of their many options. We ordered a few cocktails, the pork buns, peanut brussels (one of the best brussels dishes I’ve had recently) and one ramen each – shoyu and miso. They do ramen with a Korean spin. Love the kimchi touch and I think they pickled their own bamboo shoots. I liked that there was more broth to noodle ratio, but wished the broth was thicker as the toppings kind of sunk into the soup. I’d definitely be back to try more items from their menu.
It wasn’t much of a tour, but I had fun eating all the different types of ramen on offer around Baltimore. Definitely try out TenTen Ramen, Ejji Ramen and Dooby’s! Each place has its own charm. If you know of a good ramen place in the area, let me know in the comments section below, would love to check them out. Ramen is fairly new to Baltimore, but if it’s done right, I can see it really taking off. For now, I will be taking a break from noodle soups … but it’s raining out so maybe not! 😮 HAHA.
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