Warm Up With Ramen

With winter's chill firmly gripping New York City, we can hardly think of a more satisfying way to warm up than ramen noodles. Fortunately, there’s no shortage these days, as a surge in ramen popularity has caused restaurants specializing in the dish to pop up all over town. And no wonder—the dish is hearty, tasty, and perfect for slurping on a cold day.

For the uninitiated, ramen is a kind of noodle soup that is enjoyed all over Asia, although most Americans are familiar with the Japanese variety. At some point in history, the dish known as lamian (in Mandarin) or lo mein (in Cantonese) was exported to Japan, where it was called ramen.

There are many styles of ramen, but typically it is composed of pork or fish stock with wheat noodles, meat, fish cake, and vegetables. A small ladle-like spoon is used to scoop up the broth and a pair of chopsticks is used to grab the slippery noodles. It can be tricky at first for Westerners unused to chopsticks, but the extra effort is worth it. Don’t worry about getting all the noodles in your mouth at once. It’s perfectly acceptable to slurp!

On Thursday December 16, Asia Society New York will host Ramen Fever, a discussion with Shigeto Kamada, owner of Minca Ramen Factory and Kambi Ramen House, Jenny Miller, Assistant Food Editor at Grub Street/NYMag.com, Adina Steiman, Food Editor at Men's Health magazine, and Rickmond Wong, owner of Ramen blog Rameniac, followed by a ramen tasting. In the meantime, if you’d like to give ramen a try at home, here's a how-to video from the Japanese YouTube series Cooking With Dog, in which the miniature poodle, Francis, and his human companion teach you step-by-step how to make fresh ramen yourself:

And if you don’t have the time or patience to cook ramen from scratch, there’s always dried ramen—the staple food of hungry college students everywhere. Just add boiling water and delicious, filling soup is only a few minutes away. But did you know that much more than just soup that can be made with the packets of noodles? 101 Things to Do with Ramen Noodles is filled with unique dishes, from Ramen burgers to Tuna Ramen Casserole and Ramenlicious.com has a creative selection of dessert ramen recipes. Ramen jello, anyone?

So, are you hungry yet? Come in from the cold and stop by Asia Society New York on December 16 for Ramen Fever and warm up with some piping hot ramen noodles (and cold beer!). Click here for details.