Americans love ramen -- especially in prison -- but also at some of the best ramen shops in the country -- but there’s plenty about this Japanese cult food that we don’t know. Like the fact that you’re supposed to eat it within 15 minutes to enjoy it at its peak. Or that a brick of cold butter is a totally traditional topping on miso ramen, and guess what -- your day just got a lot better. To take your ramen appreciation up to 11, we got some pointers from two serious noodle slingers: Toki Underground’s Erik Bruner-Yang in Washington, DC, and Jerry Jaksich from Ramen Shop in San Francisco. Here are their tips for ordering and eating ramen like a pro.
Don’t screw around when the food arrives
“I used to get super frustrated when I’d deliver a bowl to a customer, and they would take a photo and chat for a while before diving in,” says Jaksich. “The whole time I was just getting veins in my neck. Like, your ramen is dying in front of you.” A bowl of ramen starts to degrade almost straight away: the noodles break down, the broth cools and the fats separate. It’s at its peak when it hits the table so put your phone away and get to business. “I dive in right away. I might seem rude to the other diners at the table but I essentially forget who's around me, I stop talking, and I just focus on the bowl,” Jaksich says.