The Ramen Shop Recipe

The Ramen Shop recipe encapsulates all other recipes. It’s not just about the food. It’s not just about the people. It’s not just about the ambiance. It’s all of these arranged in a consistent fashion that makes a ramen shop THAT ramen shop.

When I was living in Tokyo, I used to live near a very average ramen shop that had been around a very long time and because it was literally 30 seconds from my home I found myself eating there way too often. Somedays, I would even go in my pajamas and the friendly staff would always be there to welcome me. It was my comfort when I was happy, my comfort when I was sad, and my comfort when I just needed to see a friendly face. The ramen wasn’t great, but the shop itself was one of my favorites.

Then one day, I stepped in and there was no one there to greet me. Strange music playing in the background. No sense of comfort. After seating myself I was finally brought a menu by someone I had never seen before. The menu was the same. The ramen may have been the same, but nothing felt right. I felt lost. The bowl was sloppy. The taste was salty. There was way too much vinegar. The temperature wasn’t scolding hot. The ac was damaged. The smell of cigarette smoke was still lingering. The floor was sticky . The newspaper on the table next to me was more than a week old. The pitcher of water had no ice. The tissue box was empty. Where was I?

I went back a few more times and each time just wasn’t what it used to be. I decided to stop going, not because of the food (the food was never that great anyway), but because my comfort had suddenly become my pain. I stopped craving it. I yearned for something else. I began to move on.

Two years after I moved away, I found myself in the neighborhood and decided to pass by. The ramen shop was gone. The entire building was gone. In its place was someone’s brand new modern house with a bmw parked in its garage. I began to crave the bowl that once was. The one that was etched in my memory. The one that wasn’t very good but came with a smiling face. The one that got me out of bed after fighting a 4-day flu. The one that was sloppy, salty, sour, and lukewarm. The one where the ac never worked. The one where cigarette smoke lingered heavily. The one with the sticky floor. The one with the week-old newspaper. The one with the ice-less pitcher of water. The one that was never the one in the first place. I missed the one as it used to be whole. I really needed that tissue.

The ramen shop recipe had been broken, never to be fixed again.

Suzuki Shokudo

 

A sweet, refreshing, no-frills, old-school shoyu ramen at Suzuki Shokudo in Astoria. Ramen is only a fraction of the menu and not their specialty. While the flavor was short of amazing, the feeling of it took me back 30 years.

Rajuku New York

A once-in-a-lifetime ramen school will be coming to New York in November. This will be a 5-day course jam-packed with knowledge and several key can’t-find-anywhere ramen recipes. Taught primarily by my mentor Koitani-san, I will also be on hand to share with you my decade of ramen knowledge. This is one course you don’t want to miss. A huge additional benefit will be mentorship for life from the both of us.

If only there was a course like this when I was starting out. You guys are so lucky!

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Date: November 13th to 17th.
Time: 10:30am-4:30pm. (optional operation training 5pm-9pm)
Curriculum: 5 different kinds of Broth, Tare, Toppings, Aroma Oils, and Noodles.
Price: send email to ramen.rajuku@gmail.com
Lodging: Price includes hotel accommodation.
Benefits: Learning the value of making ramen from scratch in a scalable, efficient manner while understanding techniques and applying them to your everyday life.
Extra benefit: Ramen friends for life.
Special appearance from Brian MacDuckston of Ramen Adventures

Hard Times Sundaes

Sometimes when you live the ramen dream you gotta eat a cheeseburger.

Andrew’s Classic BKLYN Luncheonette

Congrats to my burger friend Andrew for opening yet another Hard Times Sundaes location!! Gotta get those caramelized onions on a ramen burger!

Ramen Inspired Ramen

On the back of our Ramen Shack T-shirts is the following statement–Ramen Inspired Ramen. If you know me or you know a little about my history, this might immediately make sense. But sometimes there are those customers that read this and giggle as if it makes no sense at all, so let me try to explain why it’s not as superfluous as it seems.

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Several years ago, the popularity of ramen began to extend into different cuisines and onto the menus of Italian, French, Spanish, and even American cuisines. These “fusion” (for lack of a better word) type ramen were then labeled as “Italian Inspired Ramen”…”French Inspired Ramen”…and so forth. For me, I have always been a huge fan of ramen in general and all it’s types and every bowl that I have slurped in my lifetime has ended up inspiring me somehow. And whenever I approach a new recipe for ramen it always starts with something I’ve experienced in the past. Therefore, my ramen is ramen-inspired-ramen. Does that make sense now? I hope so. 😉

Shuya Cafe de Ramen Collaboration Night With Chef Josh Reisner

Two weeks ago, I was honored to get a seat at a collaboration dinner featuring two of my favorite ramen chefs–Shuya Miyawaki and Josh Reisner. Both are extremely creative and very good at incorporating fresh ideas within the ramen realm. This nights dinner featured four courses plus two dessert dishes and plenty of “oh man that’s good!”

My favorite dish of the night was Shuya’s cold shrimp mazemen with chilled lobster bisque made with 100% lobster shells. Josh’s summer garden ramen was also solid and showcased his love for the ramen artform. It’s still hard to believe he’s only fifteen and I get excited knowing that his craft will only continue to grow exponentially. This is the second collabo by these two and I already cannot wait for the third. Please sign me up now.

Welcome

Hi there.  My name is Keizo Shimamoto and I am a Ramen Freak.  What does that mean, you ask?  Let’s see, how can I explain.

In 1983, I ate my first bowl of ramen. For the most part I do not remember it, but I do remember that I was in Tokyo and that it was a traditional shoyu (soy sauce) flavor.  (Thank you mom for sharing that first bowl with me!)

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In 2007, I started a ramen blog called Go Ramen! and began posting reviews of every ramen shop in Southern California. In just half a year I had reviewed 48 different shops and ranked them.  Obviously, food reviews are very subjective and my reviews weren’t the best, but hey I just really enjoyed slurping.

In 2008, my blog traveled back to Tokyo not only once, but twice, and I became reacquainted with my ramen obsession. It was during these trips that I began feeling like my future had to involve ramen somehow, someway. It was also the year of the Foo-Foo Challenge–31 consecutive days of slurping all 31 ramen on the menu.

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In 2009, I embarked on “The Dream Ramen Journey”–28 days, 21 cities, 55 bowls of ramen. And then it happened. This was the year I became a Ramen Freak. This was the year I quit my cush corporate programmer job and decided to move to Japan to learn from some of the best. This was the year I became friends with Ivan Orkin and became his apprentice at the original Ivan Ramen in Minami-Karasuyama–a start any Ramen Freak would die for.

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In 2010, I was recruited by one of my favorite ramen shops in Tokyo–Bassanova. It was here that I learned of my ramen destiny. It was too true to be a dream and too amazing to be real, but it was. I was living the ramen life and cherishing every moment.

In 2011, I was reminded how shaky this life can be. I left Bassanova for a brief stint at the famous Nakamuraya in Ebina, but returned to Bassanova when I got a call from the big boss. Less than three years into my ramen dream and I was now the sole manager (店長) of a ramen shop in Japan. I also ate a personal record 600 bowls of ramen this year.

In 2012, Ramen Dreams wins best short at Food Film Fest in NYC!!!

In 2013, from Munchies to moving to NYC to creating the Ramen Burger, life would never be the same.

In 2014, CONAN!!! Five years from quitting my job and moving to Japan, I felt that I reached my peak. Eerily I was right and there was still a lot more mountain to climb.

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In 2015, the shack came to life. Born out of my frustration and a relentless love for ramen, my passion was finally center stage.

In 2016, Go Ramen! Go Life! became a reality.

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In 2017, I reached a whole new level.

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In 2018?

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