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Eat and Drink

Ramen is alive and slurpable in NYC

David Chang, the founding father of New York's ramen culture, famously pronounced that ramen was dead in early 2015. But could this noodle-making kitchen genius really kill off what is arguably a cold New Yorker's favorite dish? We think not.

Ramen restaurants have been popping up all over the city since Chang's Momofuku Noodle Bar opened 10 years ago. With lines out the door, strict cash-only policies and crowded bar stool seating, there's enough to deter city dwellers from popular ramen shops. But strong they still stand. With new popular ramen shops like Sun Noodle's Ramen Lab and the new pop-up turned brick-and-mortar Mu Ramen drawing huge crowds in 2015, there's proof that ramen is her to stay.

Check out a few of our favorite NYC ramen spots and forget this Japanese noodle soup's falsely imminent death.

Ganso

This Downtown Brooklyn Japanese restaurant has a gastropub
Photo Credit: Facebook / gansonyc

This Downtown Brooklyn Japanese restaurant has a gastropub vibe, bustling with workers enjoying a cozy lunch break in the afternoon or packed with theatergoers before a show at BAM (beware of thirstiness during the show!). Harris Salat and chef Tadashi Ono collaborate to create classic Tokyo ramen using homemade chicken broth and locally sourced and imported Japanese ingredients. Try the braised short rib ramen for a beefy, hearty bowl or attempt to cure off any winter sniffles with the Torio Shio, a chicken soup to rival any grandma's.

25 Bond St., Brooklyn, 718-403-0900, gansonyc.com

Mu Ramen

On a chilly December night, this ramen lover
Photo Credit: Facebook / MuRamen

On a chilly December night, this ramen lover stood in line at 4:45 p.m., 15 minutes before the newly opened Mu Ramen officially opened its doors, to add my name to a waiting list. Only two and a half hours later did a seat open up at the much-coveted ramen hot spot. Mu, which started as a pop-up in the back of a bagel shop, has become one of New York's most notoriously difficult but worthwhile to slurp ramen shops, and for good reason! Husband and wife team Joshua and Heidy Smookler have cooked up a menu of Japanese-inspired appetizers and ramens including their signature bowl with oxtail and bone marrow based soup, brisket, half-sour pickle, menma, cabbage and scallions as well as a confited chicken ramen with roasted nori and aroma oils and a Pho-style soup, too.

12-09 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens, 917-868-8903, ramennyc.wix.com/pop-up

Chuko

Yet another ramen shop known for its almost
Photo Credit: FLICKR/roboppy

Yet another ramen shop known for its almost impossibly long wait times, Chuko is yes, another wait for ramen that is totally worth it. Put your name in and grab a drink near Prospect Park as you wait to slurp up central Brooklyn's best Japanese soup. The vegetarian ramen here put Chuko on the map, and is loaded with seasonal veggies like squash and spinach and enhanced by the rightly coveted homemade garlic chili oil. Take some home if you can. Chuko's crispy brussels sprouts with fish sauce and peanuts are another menu staple, so prepare to load up on veggies -- and maybe some shochu and sake.

Cash only, 552 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn, 347-425-9570, barchuko.com

Ajisen Ramen

With locations in Chinatown, Midtown and Flushing, this
Photo Credit: FLICKR/zebrafx

With locations in Chinatown, Midtown and Flushing, this Japanese mini chain is quickly becoming one of New York's top ramen spots. Over 20 varieties of ramen, from BBQ pork to grilled eel, are available on the menu, but Ajisen does the classics with perfection. Opt for a traditional bowl with chasu pork and a perfect broth to skinny noodle ratio to have you slurping until the last sip.

multiple locations, ajisenusa.com

Minca

This small East Village ramen shop is always
Photo Credit: FLICKR/roboppy

This small East Village ramen shop is always packed with people waiting to cram onto a bar stool and slurp up some authentic ramen. No frills or flares here: it's all about the broth, noodles and traditional toppings, including bamboo shoots and corn. Both pork and chicken broth (try them mixed) as well as vegetarian broth are available, and choose from thick, thin, wavy wheat, whole wheat or bean noodles.

Cash only, 536 E. 5th St., 212-505-8001, newyorkramen.com

Jin Ramen

Harlem's Jin Ramen serves massive bowls of homemade
Photo Credit: FLICKR/50772153@N07

Harlem's Jin Ramen serves massive bowls of homemade ramen with appropriately large ladle-like spoons to whisk you away in a pool of fragrance. Special flavors like green curry coconut are tasty and alluring but for the traditionalists, you can't go wrong with the slow cooked tonkotsu or the spicy tonkotsu. Thin, linguine-like noodles definitely make this ramen shop distinct, and make dining right under the 125th St. 1 train worthwhile. Also known for its happy hour specials, stop by between 5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. or after 9:30 p.m. for $2.50 Sapporo drafts or $10 pitchers to chug alongside your ramen slurps.

3183 Broadway, 646-559-2862, jinramen.com

Samurai Papa

From the Udon masters at Williamsburg's Samurai Mama
Photo Credit: Facebook / SamuraiPapaBrooklyn

From the Udon masters at Williamsburg's Samurai Mama comes another masterpiece in Japanese noodle soup: ramen. Open only for a few months, Samurai Papa already draws crowds ready to slurp its hugely flavorful stocks, including a vegetarian broth made with onion, ginger, enoki mushroom, garlic, daikon radish and eggplant and topped with seasonal vegetables, avocado and a signature kikurage mushroom. With all bowls at $11 or less, this is some affordable gourmet ramen. Sushi and cocktails also round out the menu, but we dare you not to order that second bowl.

Cash Only, 32 Varet St., Brooklyn, 718-599-7171, Facebook.com/SamuraiPapaBrooklyn

Ivan Ramen

Everyone loves Ivan Ramen. Ivan Orkin, the self-proclaimed
Photo Credit: FLICKR/roboppy

Everyone loves Ivan Ramen. Ivan Orkin, the self-proclaimed Long Island Jew with an affinity for Japanese cuisine brought his internationally renowned noodles from Tokyo to NYC in 2013, when he opened up Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop at Gotham West Market. The popular cafeteria-style stand led to the Lower East Side's Ivan Ramen, a hotspot that opened this summer, complete with an outdoor patio. Rye noodles serve as a unique vehicle to slurp up mushroom, pork and miso broths or even a soup-less garlic mazeman.

25 Clinton St., 646-678-3859, ivanramen.com

Zen 6

For a low key, tasty ramen experience, head
Photo Credit: Facebook / Zen6ny

For a low key, tasty ramen experience, head to the East Village's Zen 6. With a second location recently opened on St. Marks, the popular ramen spot is known for high quality, yet low priced ramen bowls, like their mushroom trio ramen or the spider ramen served with a whole deep fried soft shell crab on top. Choose from thin, medium straight or thick wavy noodles to change up your favorite bowl.

328 E. 6th St., 646-429-8471, zen6ny.com

HinoMaru

Head to Astoria for some truly tasty ramen.
Photo Credit: HinoMaru

Head to Astoria for some truly tasty ramen. HinoMaru's veggie ramen is unique in that the broth is made with fresh soy milk, giving it a savory, creamy base for a variety of crisp, seasonal vegetables and a salad greens topping. Thin, wavy noodles curl in the veggies, perfectly uniting a bowl of subtle flavors into one tasty bite. To amp up the flavor, stir in chili oil. Spicy tonkotsu, chicken and daily specials are also available for meat lovers.

33-18 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria, 718-777-0228, HinoMaru

Dassara Brooklyn Ramen

This Brooklyn ramen shop gives the full New
Photo Credit: FLICKR/garrettziegler

This Brooklyn ramen shop gives the full New York treatment to its bowls of ramen. Think pastrami, matzo balls, smoked salmon and more as ramen toppings, as well as ethnically themed broths like spicy Xian served with ground lamb. To taste their comfort food in your own home, try our recipe for their Rosh Hashanah ramen.

271 Smith St., Brooklyn, 718-643-0781, dassara.com

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