Creation Diary

“Self-taught”, yes, but Not By Choice…

Rockin’ my new tenugui towel and dabo shirt! ^-^

Facts are facts.

Yes, I have spent thousands of dollars and hundred of hours (I’ll happily dedicate ten-fold more!) towards perfecting my craft. Another fact: I have received valuable feedback via email, etc from other ramen cooks, chefs, and enthusiasts. All of this information was vital is helping me begin to navigate my course and embark on what could be a life-long journey of perfecting my Japanese ramen.

When I began, I’ll be the first to admit that the ramen that I was producing was far from complex or even impressive, for that matter. The best I could hope for were a few “likes” on social media from pictures of my weekly ramen projects. Even with my admitted faults, I still hoped to apprentice, or even work at a ramen shop to gain a greater idea of how the ramen world worked. I was single and had been laid off work at one point and was in a position to pick up and move anywhere in the United States. I ready to take off anywhere if the opportunity presented itself.

It was after continuously reaching out for job opportunities to work as *anything* that would get me around ramen and how a shop’s general work flow was conducted, I was still flat-out ignored. After a little over 90 outreach attempts, I gave up on seeking out any apprenticeships, job opportunities, etc. Granted, I was being choosy about where I reached out. However, that was only because despite being even more of a novice then, compared to the relative one that I still am, I *did* know a good shop when I saw one. I took their customer and employee reviews into consideration. In the end, I reached out and without any replies, I came to the conclusion that I simply was not good enough. Looking back, I would even consider that a fair assessment. That said, I could choose to be bitter and give up because I could not impress them, or I could teach myself, improve my ramen, and become a better me in the process. No longer would I reach out for someone to teach me (I would still be honored to apprentice a seasoned and respected ramen chef!), but would take matters into my own hands to “rise up the ranks”. I’d let my results do the talking instead.

Moving forward, since everything is on my shoulders as of right now, I have not decided if a brick-and mortar is right for me. I like the idea of doing pop-ups, or even teaching ramen-crafting classes. These activities grant me the freedom to move about and network. In addition, if I do decide to open up a shop one day, I want it to be in a city that is a mutual fit. I am not in this for money; I could care less about quick cash-grabs. The ramen needs to be respected as a craft and I need to feel that it is a place where it and I can grow.

“The Journey of Kimchi” a guest post by Y.H. Son

Eating authentic kim chi from my mother was one of those things I took it from granted as a youth, and when my mother passed away from cancer later part of my life, i’ve sincerely missed her home made Kim Chi.

Reflecting it now as a 40 year old man, I come to realize what i missed about kim chi was what I hated as a youth, which was time and effort to create a home made kim chi.

Now without mother’s cooking, or her vague knowledge of making kim chi in the past, it was like re-awaking memories of making home made kim chi process.

It was a sincere pleasure to make kim chi the last few weeks, and it does feel healthier making from scratch.

A good kim chi usually comes out refreshing, and it would have good crunch, but with proper fermentation it creates natural zest and tang with spice.

I would like to qexpress gratitude towards those who have already paid and made reservations for Ramen and Kim Chi.

This journey to make a competitive ramen was fun and delightful, and we hope to meet you all soon.

December’s Weekend Ramen: Kasane Miso

This past weekend’s project was for a kasane miso ramen.  But you may ask, what exactly is that?

“Kasane”, referring to a “double-layered” broth, was a combination of both chicken and pork bone stocks.  The idea was to add depth and additional layers of complexity.

In addition to the combined stocks,  the miso tare took an additional approach to complexity by adding in hints of sweetness and curry elements to the miso.

Finally, I took care with the toppings to pair the sauteed bean sprouts and fried shallots with the freshness of chopped green onions.

Finally, I took care with the toppings to pair the sauteed bean sprouts and fried shallots with the freshness of chopped green onions.

The best part of the bowl, for me, is the when all of the flavors have had time to meld (Bottoms Up!🍜).  It is at this point where I feel that I taste it’s true depth and complexity.

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Summer is in full swing! #SeafoodRamen #ShoyuSnob

The shrimp shells that I had used really amped up the stock’s flavor!  I have wanted to craft a seafood ramen for a while now.  I had gone on a brief hiatus after recently accepting a position completing projects for an engineering consulting firm.

I love seafood so wakame seemed to be a better complement for this ramen instead of the nori that I normally used; but this is just my opinion though…

Also, I made a refreshing drink of matcha green tea and ginger that I had sliced and steeped in the tea. I then mixed it with apple juice, and chilled the tea overnight. The apple juice was a healthy way to add a subtle sweetness to the tea.

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The breakdown:
Chicken & shrimp broth with a shoyu tare, and topped with homemade scallion oil, katsuobushi powder, butterfly shrimp, mussels, calamari, scallions, enoki mushrooms, wakame, ajitsuke tamago, and of course, ramen noodles!

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My ramen pottery arrived!

This was an impulse buy, but a well-anticipated one!  I came across this adorable pottery while on Amazon and not only was it perfect for my ramen bowls, it features of one my favorites cuties, Rilakkuma!

Unfortunately, I dropped one of the ceramic spoons in the sink while doing dishes and it chipped pretty badly.  For fear of cutting my mouth, I had to toss it ;-;