“Ramen, the only thing on this Earth that falls into the ‘men’ category that doesn’t disappoint me,” my friend Brittany said as she dug into a steaming hot bowl of Miso Ramen noodles.
Ramen is the most comforting food I can think of (other than the homemade chicken soup my grandma makes).
This Japanese soup dish is perfect on a cold day, on a hot day (in A/C because sweat), in the morning, afternoon, night. Anytime, anywhere.
It’s also really fun to eat! There is a specific way one should eat Ramen, as seen here in this New York Times slideshow. The article advices you to start eating as soon as you are served, while the soup is as hot as you can stand. Slurping is necessary to suck in air at the same time to cool off the noodles.
In between slurping up noodles, you should take your spoon and drink the hot soup. It is also recommended that you do not stir in your ingredients, instead you should eat them bite-by-bite, one-by-one. The slideshow says that you should be done with your Ramen within six to ten minutes, if you’re a Ramen geek.
Or you can just…attempt…like me:
There are a ton of cool places to get really good Ramen all around Queens. One of my favorites is Ramen Okidoki, 34-05 30th Ave, in Astoria.
This place is super authentic and has great service. As soon as you walk in you notice the, possibly only, downside– it is a really small and narrow place. Which is okay! The Ramen is worth it!
As soon as you sit down and get the menu, they bring out this kimchi that kind of looks like cut pineapple, but is actually cabbage, that is nice and pickle-y. And they always bring it out in a cute fish shaped bowl!
They have a promotion going on now where you can get “Yaki-Gyoza,” or Japanese style dumplings, and
two beers all for $11.95. And so we got the chicken dumplings (you have the option to get chicken, pork or vegetable) with two Sapporos (I don’t really like beer, but this was good!)
The chicken dumplings came out and they were so crispy and super hot, which meant they were fresh. They were covered in a chili sauce, which I appreciated.
An order comes with two steamed buns filled with pork, cucumbers, and served with either Okidoki’s spicy sauce or mild. We got mild (mainly because I can’t handle spice too well. Womp womp).
I definitely recommend getting these. Here they are along with the tasty pineapple-looking kimchi.
Now for the pièce de résistance: their Ramen. They are obviously known for their Ramen, and they have a wide variety to satisfy all diets and tastes. My favorite is their Miso Ramen:
It is a soybean paste chicken noodle soup topped with bamboo shoots, cabbage, bean sprouts, scallion, corn, salt-flavored egg, fish cake and comes with either chicken breast, seen above, or pork:
I personally like the pork so much better. It makes the broth so much saltier and tasty. The chicken is still really good, just not as exciting. And I’ve been trying a new thing and only eat chicken now, so my life is also not as exciting (cheated for the Pork Buns, though…)
A bestseller at Okidoki is their R U Okidoki Ramen:
It is a pork noodle soup with a blend of hot spices topped with pork, shitake mushroom, cabbage, corn, bamboo shoots, salt flavored egg, fish cake and seaweed. And it is so spicy. So. Spicy. Like, not only does it set your mouth on fire in every possible way, but it also fogs up your glasses. But it’s worth it!
Another good option for meat lovers is their BBQ Butaniku Ramen:
It is a silky butaniku, aka pork belly, soup with bamboo shoots, bean sprout, garlic, cabbage, pork, salt-flavored egg, scallion, fish cake and katsuobushi, which is dried and fermented skipjack tuna. All of that salty goodness.
And underneath all of the broth-y, hearty toppings are a bunch of perfectly cooked noodles! Every time.
I’d check out this helpful how-to YouTube video from geobeats on how to use chopsticks properly before you go (don’t be like me).
Each bowl of Ramen ranges from $10 to $13, which isn’t bad for the amount of food you get and the experience. I think it’s pretty worth it.
Every time I go it is full of couples, so it might be a nice date night destination too! Go check out Ramen Okidoki for amazing, authentic Ramen in Astoria, Queens!