Restaurant Review

As we move into summer, I feel a bit odd reviewing a soup restaurant.  But, I’m all in for soup anytime, so I’m going for it.  Ramen restaurants have been popping up around Pierce County for a few years now.  I like them.  Ramen in Japan is serious business – a proper meal - not the dehydrated noodles and soup packet staple of every college student ever.  Well, maybe not ever – the ubiquitous and cheap top ramen packets have only been around since the late 50’s.  During the post WWII period, Japan suffered from a shortage of food.  Bread was being pushed by the Government, mostly because of the wheat flowing into Japan from the US, and the difficulty in transporting fresh noodles, a more traditional Japanese food.   Momofuku Ando, the inventor of top ramen, wanted a way make traditional Japanese food available to everyone is Japan.  When they finally hit the market, top ramen was much more expensive than an actual bowl of soup.  It was a luxury item.  But, Nissin, the company he founded, eventually got the price down.  Way down.  Nowadays, a packet of top ramen is seen as far from gourmet.  But a proper bowl of ramen is an epicurean delight, served in Ramen shops across Japan.  There are 4 major types of ramen broths, each with its own characteristics.  You’ll usually find boiled eggs, kamaboko (fish cakes), pork and more scattered on top of each bowl of noodles.  And each shop usually has its own spin on the broth, noodles and toppings.  A nice little hole-in-the-wall ramen spot is My Lil’ Cube (402 N Meridian, Puyallup, WA), in Puyallup.  They have 9 tables, are usually a bit understaffed, and make great ramen.  The owners are usually in the shop, which is why you can count on quality.   They don’t just do ramen, they also have some dumplings, gyoza, takoyaki (octopus balls), tempura, donburi (a rice bowl with meat or veggies over the rice), and more.  But I’d go for the ramen.  In my most recent visit, I had the Tonkotsu Seaweed Corn Ramen, a rich pork broth with noodles, sweet corn, soft boiled egg and more.  It took me right back to the ramen shops in Sapporo.  The Udon is quite good as well.  For the classic Ramen experience, I’d go for the Shoyu – a clear chicken broth – which they do nicely.  So, if you’re wandering the streets of Puyallup, I’d recommend popping in for a bowl of soup.  It isn’t quite the bargain a packet of top ramen might be – the soup goes for around $10 a bowl – but after you have a taste, you’ll realize why that is still more than worth your time and money.

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