I’m sure that many of you, like me, spent a number of years eating ramen noodles as a regular part of your diet. Some people I’ve talked to said it was a sure-fire hangover cure while they were in college. I found it just a quick and easy, inexpensive meal when I was young, had no time and even less money. I remember the ramen packs were four for a dollar and came in exotic flavors like chicken, shrimp and vegetable though I don’t remember the taste being much different between them. Near the end of my ramen-eating days the packaging upgraded from blocks of noodles in cellophane to styrofoam cups pre-mixed and ready to go after adding boiling water. This upped the ramen sophistication quite a bit in my opinion, but I’d moved on to more adult foods by then.
But the ramen noodle craze has come back and now enire restaurants are being devoted to ramen like in Japan. Basic ramen is a bowl of wheat noodles with a broth, but the trick is to dress up the broth with add-ons like vegetables, or shrimp and spicing up the broth with miso or other spices.
I was delighted to find my first ramen dish on the menu in Naples at Sea Salt of all places! This wonderful seafood restaurant has one of the most interesting lunch menus in town and is really showing the influence of a new young chef in the kitchen. Flavors are bright and combinations are innovative, taking on classics like their Cuban sandwich and elevating it to a gourmet delight. The chef’s take on ramen soup was slurpingly delicious on a cold Naples day last week. The broth was hearty and flavorful and floating amongst the tender noodles were thin slices of Berkshire pork, a Gulf shrimp, and a slightly cooked egg to stir into the broth. Served with chopsticks this has definite splash potential so don’t wear your best silk shirt when you order it! And while it took me back to my youth, my ramen never tasted this good.
1186 3rd Street South