What type of shows do you watch?
For me and my other half, food is one of our absolute favourite hobbies; whether it’s cooking up a storm in our tiny kitchen or eating out at our favourite restaurants, we love it… So watching food shows comes with the territory! We will while away hours watching other people cooking (faves include Binging with Babish, Kenji Lopez-Alt or Joshua Weissman on YouTube) or stuffing their faces (see Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with Dave Chang on Netflix)…
At the minute we are totally and unashamedly obsessed with Top Chef (say it like Padma does!! haha)… If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a reality TV cooking show where the competitors fight it out to win prizes and the accolade “Top Chef”, in the same vein as Masterchef and Hell’s Kitchen. It’s pretty trashy but… *shrugs*.
If you have Netflix then check out my other post about some foodie shows that gave us some “food-spiration” for our trip to New York. Ivan Ramen and David Chang’s Momofuku have both featured on Netflix shows – but whose ramen is the best?! Keep reading to find out!
Ivan Orkin has a super interesting backstory. An American who moved to Japan and mastered the art of ramen, winning over Tokyoites to become one of the best ramen shops in Tokyo before doing it all again in New York. You can watch his story on series 3 of Chef’s Table on Netflix.
We were really lucky when we visited Ivan Ramen because there was a special event on; a collaboration with Black Project beer, which meant that we could book a table 🙂 The starters on the menu were really interesting – and I would have totally gone for the fried chicken but we decided to go for something a bit different, the Miso Roasted Cauliflower. And oh wow, it was so moreish!! Like a subtle fusion cauliflower cheese with smoky miso umami gorgeousness. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Then came the ramen – Tokyo Shio Ramen for me, and Tokyu Shoyu Ramen for D. They both looked deceptively simple in presentation but so complex in flavour. Unlike some other ramen places, the noodles aren’t drowned in loads of watery broth; the bowl is quite shallow but with just enough of the broth which is strong. The roasted tomato in mine was a great touch – the juices of the sweet tomato made all the flavours pop! Also, the noodles were the perfect texture – I loved it!
Momofuku Noodle Bar
Momofuku Noodle Bar is one of many well renowned restaurants in David Chang’s empire. Having watched him gain popularity in the last year or two on Netflix with shows Ugly Delicious and Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, it was so funny to see his dweeby earlier self as a guest judge on Top Chef circa 2010.
A few days after Ivan Ramen, we stopped for lunch at Momofuku Noodle Bar, also in the Lower East. I liked to minimalist Japanese feel of the restaurant – lots of wood and clean lines.
This time, we had the Shrimp Bao. We were sitting at the bar so we watched the guys cook, watching our shrimp patty turn a beautiful golden brown on the grill. It was really good – I love shrimp and could’ve had about five of those bao. Seriously!
So then it was ramen time – no messin’ about, we both had the Pork Ramen. Now this ramen was a bit different – there was pork belly and shredded pork shoulder, and the egg was soft poached. The egg was a bit too soft for me – I prefer the bite of the white in a soft boiled egg. BUT!!! The pork belly was an absolute triumph for me. They finish it on the grill so the fat is a bit crispy – hands down, the best pork belly I’ve had in a ramen. EVER.
So……. the winner??
It’s too close to call!! I really don’t want to sit on the fence but both broths had strong umami game, as for the other parts…
Ivan’s noodles, egg and tomato + Momofuku’s pork belly = UBER-ramen.
I think I’m onto something!?!
Writer’s note: My experiences at both Ivan Ramen and Momofuku Noodle Bar took place in July 2018. Since we haven’t really been able to go out to eat out during lockdown, I have really been reminiscing a lot about our past experiences. Eating out is such big part of our social life and we really miss it. We have ventured out a few times locally for food since lockdown was lifted in the UK, and supporting our local takeaways as well. The hospitality industry has suffered a lot in the last few months and I really hope that all restaurants, takeaways and other food providers get the support they need to get through this period. Let’s do what we can to support the industry 🙂
Visit: 25 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002 or 600 11th Avenue, New York, NY 10036
Facebook: Ivan Ramen
Momofuku Noodle Bar
Visit: 171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003 or see website for other restaurants in the Momofuku group