It’s my birthday and my thoughtful husband, who apparently remembers everything that comes out of my mouth, has decided to take me out for lunch at a local ramen shop. I’ve been harping about eating ramen at a Japanese restaurant for a while now. It’s a good day to have a palate adventure.
Our trip led us to Strings Ramen Shop. Currently, Strings has three locations, but we visited their site that’s in the heart of Chinatown in Chicago. The shop has a hip and modern ambiance, with an open window to view what the chefs are preparing. There’s even an enclosed patio to eat outdoors, rain or shine.
After arriving, I quickly realized that the only thing prepared was my appetite. I had no knowledge of reading the menu or understanding how to use chopsticks. If you’ve read my blog Oh How I Adore Chinese Food, you’ll remember that I’m a big fan of Asian-American cuisines, but I’ve never learned how to eat with chopsticks!
For the appetizer, we ate broccoli on steroids! Actually, it was Sriracha Broccoli with Bacon Bits. That was possibly the best broccoli I’ve ever eaten!
After eating that amazing appetizer, my husband and I were both ready for the main event. Thankfully the menu had a Ramen Terminology section that defined words that were difficult for the novice guest. The waitress was very helpful providing answers to all questions that came her way.
Eventually, I chose the Seafood and Kuro Buta Miso Ramen, which included crab meat, scallops, shrimp and pork belly (kuro buta), plus trio miso, corn, seaweed, and chicken and turkey bone stock. My husband chose the Premium Tonkotsu Ramen, which included pork belly, pork loin, beef tongue, spicy clams, pork chunks, scallion, black bean garlic oil, bean sprouts, and douban sauce in a creamy pork bone stock.
Once ready, the waitress brought each of us a huge bowl of ramen. The noodles and ingredients balanced the amount of stock that was in the large bowl. She also brought a small bowl, which I noticed the other guests didn’t have on their tables. I used the small bowl to add the ramen so that it was more manageable with a fork and the slurping spoon. I told you, I don’t know how to use chopsticks. The flavors were amazing! I wondered how long the stock had been simmering because you could taste each ingredient, but everything complimented each other.
Apparently, you are supposed to finish eating ramen within 10 minutes. My husband had gulped EVERYTHING down. I was mostly done within 10 minutes, but it was because my stomach was full! I was able to take home a small container for leftovers, which tasted just as good the next day when I reheated it in the microwave.
In case you haven’t eaten ramen before, I’ve included a video demonstration on how it’s done. I’ve also added learning how to eat with chopsticks to my bucket list, and it’s a goal to accomplish this summer!