It’s All About the Ramen Baby!
Before I go into detail about Ramen, let me first say that I cannot stress to you enough how much my family and I love soup. We even have an annual “Soup Day” where we invite friends and family over to enjoy a variety of soups. I usually make at least three different kinds (basically whatever soups I am craving at the time) and each family brings at least one soup for all to enjoy. We have one requirement for this day – all soups must be homemade. Guests who arrive with canned or store-bought soups are turned away at the door. LOL! Just kidding, my friends know me well enough to appease me by just going along with my requests because it would allow me the opportunity to tease them relentlessly if they don't. Anyway, I say all of this to express our love of soup!
One of my favorite types of soup in the entire world is Ramen. No, I am not talking about the dried packaged kind with a ton of sodium. I am talking about Japanese Ramen. Whenever we have a stopover in the Tokyo Narita Japan airport – I refuse to board my next plane until I have had a bowl of Ramen at one of the little restaurants in the airport. They don’t provide to-go containers – so if you don’t have a lot of time – you will have to slurp it down quickly or, God forbid, throw it away.
Japanese Ramen Craze
Japanese Ramen bars and/or restaurants have become very popular in the United States within the last five years or so. I live in Atlanta and was over the moon when it was announced that they were building a Japanese Raman Bar – JINYA – in my neighborhood in X year. JINYA Sandy Springs location opened in July of 2016 and another location will open soon in Buckhead, Atlanta due to the overwhelming popularity of the current location. I have dined at JINYA countless times both at lunch and dinner. There is always at least an hour wait unless you avoid the rush hour times by going a little early or a little later than normal lunch or dinner times. The restaurant is compact. It only has a few inside tables, two long bar areas, and a small outside patio.
If you love fresh noodles and tasty broth, then JINYA is the restaurant for you. JINYA is a ramen culture, where the relationship between broth and noodles is a serious and delicious business. From the water they use to prepare the broths – they only use FUJI which is 99.9 percent free from impurities – to the special aging process that their noodles undergo before they’re cooked and served. At JINYA, they are serious about ramen and pay meticulous attention to everything that goes into each customer’s bowl. Their motto is – “No ramen, no life.”
Upon entering JINYA, your waiter will yell out “irasshaimase”- which means”Welcome to the store!” or “Come on in!” All of the other staff will respond back in unison “irasshaimase.” This display from the staff sets a positive atmosphere and makes each customer feel welcome.
I have frequented JINYA countless times and the staff is always friendly, accommodating, and always wanting to ensure that you enjoy the many culinary delights the restaurant has to offer.
If you’ve never visited a ramen restaurant before, the menu at JINYA is easy to understand and has some helpful pictures of recommended and/or popular items.
I highly recommend starting out with the Brussel Sprouts Tempura appetizer (crispy tempura brussels sprouts with white truffle oil) and the JINYA Bun. My son who is not a fan of brussels sprouts eats these babies by the dozen. Another one of my favorite appetizers at JINYA is the Salmon Avocado (salmon and avocado tossed in wasabi soy sauce). It is light and delicious.
In regards to ramen, you really can't go wrong with any of their selections. Just depends on if you like your ramen broth spicy or mild, thin or thick noodles, a broth base of pork, chicken, and/or fish, choice of chicken or pork, and a selection of vegetables.
One of my favorite ramen bowls at JINYA is the Tonkotsu Spicy which is pork broth, pork chashu, spicy bean sprouts, kikurage, green onion, and spicy sauce served with thick noodles. Choose your spice level, mild, spicy, or hot.
Another favorite is Cha Cha Cha (for Garlic Lovers) which has both pork and fish broth, pork chashu, seasoned egg, bean sprouts, chopped onion, green onion, garlic, chili powder and served with extra thick noodles.
Quick tip for garlic lovers like myself – be sure to ask your waiter for fresh garlic and you will receive a jar of fresh garlic cloves along with a garlic press. You can add as much garlic as your taste buds can handle!
Slurp All You Want!
Note: Slurping is allowed! Also, don't forget to stir your ramen frequently all the way down to the bottom of the bowl or the seasonings will settle at the bottom of the bowl.
About JINYA Ramen BAR
Anyone from Japan can tell you: Real Japanese ramen isn’t about the noodles, it’s about the broth.
That’s why JINYA Ramen Bar’s signature stocks take center-stage on our menu. Slowly simmered for more than ten hours, we combine whole pork bones, chicken, or vegetables with just the right amount of bonito, dashi, kombu, and other authentic ingredients. The result is a rich broth that is thick, full-flavored, healthful… and unforgettable.
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