A quick bite at Ramen, Cork

I took a study break to grab a bowl of noodles at Ramen today. To avoid another Irish foodscene-related gush/rant, you can read yesterday’s blog post, but the availability of Asian-tasting Asian food that does not look like a derivative of stew and that has vegetables that still have bite is still a rather recent thing in Ireland. 

And Ramen is brilliant. Well, if you ignore the noise, the fact that parking is close to impossible around it (there is a little car park 50 metres down a side street if you know where to look, but it’s tight), the noise level and the awful draught coming in through the wide-open door, it’s brilliant. The menu choices are simple – noodles, curries, and “wok stars” – but it’s all done behind an open counter with proper hot gas flames, high enough to scorch the eyebrows off the cook.

I had a lovely vermicelli dish with chicken and no fewer than 10 different vegetables and a bottle of water. My gripe would be that they don’t serve tea – Asian tea, not Irish tea-with-milk-and-two-sugars. 

  
Ramen has had the lovely idea of giving every customer an empty ice-cream cone on their tray with the following instructions:

  
What fun to fill your own ice-cream cone off a machine that dispenses soft vanilla ice in pretty swirls! I felt like a kid. Until I saw that I had made a rude shape with my ice-cream and quickly gave it a lick. Hehe. 

  

Of course stir-fried vermicelli are not new and unique per se, but it’s new and unique around here. Also, this is not a multinational chain of restaurants – this is a Cork thing. There are 4 Ramen restaurants in and around Cork at Dennehy’s Cross, Anglesea Street, Ballincollig and Midleton. Their mission is to bring classic street food dishes to the people of Cork, but they had me at “And we never use MSG”. Their slogan:

  
You betcha I will.

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