The ramen review: With the trend towards these noodles increasing, new restaurants are popping up in the DFW area (with video)
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Many people incorrectly picture ramen as a sodium-packed noodle soup in a foam cup that is eaten in copious amounts by broke college students. Authentic ramen, a Japanese and Chinese rooted dish, is more than just an instant noodle. With broths requiring six to 12 hours of preparation, specialty meats and varied noodle thicknesses, real ramen is being served in restaurants close to us.
3720 Belt Line Rd. #3714, Addison
500 E. FM 3040, Suite 112, Lewisville
Ramen Hakata is brightly lit with many seating options and a menu with multiple dishes. With a bar to watch your food being prepared, booths and tables, you will be comfortable when diving into your bowl of ramen.
The Hakata Ramen ($8.50) and Spicy Hakata Ramen ($9), unfortunately, both were disappointing. The noodles were soggy and the pork tasted fatty and flavorless. The broth, however, was yummy as it had a coconut-like flavor. The only difference between the two dishes is that the Spicy Miso Ramen is topped with spicy chilli flakes and chilli oil. The broth for both is definitely great, but the pork and noodles were disappointing.
Coppell High School senior Jenny Lee ordered the original Hakata Ramen.
“I have to admit that the noodles are too soft,” Lee said. “I care more about the noodles than the broth in my ramen, so this isn’t the best bowl I’ve ever had.”
If you prefer soft noodles with a tasty broth, Ramen Hakata is for you. Personally, the ramen was far from tasting bad, but it was not close to tasting amazing either.
1802 Greenville Ave, Dallas
Wabi House, located in the lower Greenville area of Dallas, is designed with a modern, yet rustic touch. The casual restaurant includes an indoor seating area, a ramen bar to watch the chef prepare your food, an outdoor seating area and a bar. On weekend nights, make a reservation or expect a wait.
The ramen ordered was Shoyu, priced at $11 and Spicy Miso at $12. Wabi House’s Shoyu Ramen has a light, soy sauce-based broth, smoky and soft pork meat and thick ramen noodles. The broth is flavorful and compliments the noodles very well. Ramen broths can be on the saltier side, but this one was not at all. The dish is topped with a marinated egg with a flavored yolk, adding a unique twist to the meal. Shoyu ramen is not spicy, so opt for this choice if you want a lighter and mild ramen.
For an extra dollar, you may order a side of spicy rayu (chili sauce) to add to the ramen if you want it to have an extra kick. Be careful, though, a little bit of the sauce can go very far with spice.
CHS senior Esther Cha delved into the Shoyu Ramen.
“The ramen makes for great comfort food,” Cha said. “The light broth tastes almost smoky and the egg and pork taste amazing with the flavors from the broth.”
Spicy Miso Ramen is for the ramen lovers who want a heavier broth with a burst of flavor. The broth is spicy, on the creamier side and a little nutty, while the noodles are thick and chewy. The poached egg in the dish also adds a unique flavor to the meal as the egg imbibes flavor from the broth. The ramen is topped with mince pork, adding a nice bite to the combo of noodles and soup. Not salty at all, this ramen dish was the one I preferred as I prefer my Ramen heavier with heavier broths.
2540 Old Denton Rd #120, Carrollton
3204 Camp Bowie Blvd. #106, Fort Worth
Hanabi Ramen, which is located in both Carrollton and Fort Worth, is decorated with an industrial vibe with wooden furniture. The casual eatery has a robust menu ranging with various appetizers, ramen bowls, noodles and desserts.
The Kamari Tonkotsu Ramen ($10) has a creamy broth, pork meat and thick noodles. The flavor of the broth is delicious as it is filled with spice, however, the broth tastes a bit grainy. This broth is less creamy than typical tonkotsu broths but I deemed that it paired well with the spices.
The noodles were thick and chewy but the pork tasted too fatty. The soft boiled egg was also a bit over-cooked.
CHS senior Tyler Huang tried Hanabi Ramen for the first time.
“The broth is very flavor-packed,” Huang said. “It has the flavor but the oiliness of the soup and the fattiness of the pork weakens the quality of the dish.”
By my judgment, Wabi House is the best ramen option for ramen lovers in the Dallas area. Though it is the furthest from Coppell and most expensive, it is worth the trip to get an extremely appetizing and unique dish.
Hanabi Ramen is the second best due to the great texture of the noodles and the flavor of the broth. I would recommend, though, to opt out of the pork.
Ramen Hakata comes third due to its thin, soggy noodles and weak pork. While all three options are worth the try for a new and exciting dish, Wabi House is the one to look out for the most in the Dallas area.