tsukemen: best way to eat ramen?

Maybe not the best but really good if the dipping soup(? broth?) is tasty and the noodles have a substantive chew. The downside: it’s really rough trying to drink the soup, or whatever it is, so, unless you like your soup really saline, if you want some deliciously gulpable or sippable liquid during your meal, you’ll have to order a side of miso soup.
The bowl on the left here contains white-sesame-flavored soup with sprouts, green onion and slices of pork.

Perfect! Well, almost… Ramen at Yume Wo Katare

Can't believe I finished it all...
If you don’t know what was in the bowl shown above 20 minutes before I took this picture, you can find out by visiting Yume Wo Katare or by checking out their Yelp! review photos. I can’t believe I packed just about everything that was in there into my stomach. That earned me a “Perfect!” from that ramen shop’s staff and fellow customers. Admittedly, this cheer of affirmation did feel good, but it’s not a feeling I’m inclined to seek out again since it came with some discomfort…

I love the idea the staff of Yume Wo Katare regularly declare while you dine there: harness the same gusto it takes to devour a monster bowl of ramen to accomplish your dreams. And I love the culture too; it’s a cozy, friendly place where you’re encouraged to announce to your fellow customers who you are and what your dream is after you’ve eaten what you can of the massive serving of broth, noodles and pork. You’re also given hearty encouragement on what you’ve shared (often applause) and on your ramen-scarfing abilities—if you can’t make it to the bottom of the bowl, you’ll be awarded with “Good Job!” or “Next Time!” depending on how far you got.

But while the noodles are wide and chewy, the broth is really oily and a little too salty for my taste. The bits of fat in the soup, though tasty, also make the soup less appealing to quaff, let alone drink in its entirety. At first, the bowl of ramen set before me looked manageable, but once I made my way through 70% of the noodles and 20% of the broth, I found myself fighting the feeling of extreme fullness to continue on the rest of the way.

I really wanted to hear the guys say “Perfect!” and not waste food, so I struggled to and did finish my order of ぶたラーメン, but next time I have a hankering for ramen, I’ll likely settle for “Good Job!” or go to Sapporo Ramen down the street instead.

Here’s recent NPR’s story on Yume Wo Katare which gives an auditory glimpse into the atmosphere of this unique ramen spot.

My Faves in Portland, OR

The Hoyt Arboretum: an extensive network of trails through an impressive collection of tree specimens; the redwoods are spectacular (take a moment to feel the bark of giant sequoia).

The Portland Japanese Garden: a soothing, meticulously designed and maintained set of horticultural mini-landscapes.

Blue Star Donuts: delicious donuts served up in a crisply minimalist space of glass, metal and wood; it’s like the Apple Store of donut shops.

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Chef Naoko Bento Cafe: palate-exhilarating Japanese cuisine prepared with organic ingredients.  Continue reading