Everybody Loves Ramen

(Photo by Ramen 369)

After moving back from Japan years ago, the first thing I missed was the food. But things have improved over the years; for example, it’s hard to go three blocks without tripping over a sushi place.

The very hardest thing to find for a long time—especially on the East Coast—were ramen noodles. When ramen shops finally began to appear, I’d try them out (with varying results) to see if they were the noodles I remembered.

A friend tipped me off to a new ramen shop, Ramen 369, right in the heart of trendy Pineapple Grove in Delray. It’s a tiny little place, no tables, just a bar. Only room for maybe eight to 10 people at a time. You go in, order from a touchscreen what you want, run your card, and take a place at the bar.

I decided to try the most basic shoyu ramen for a baseline, but also could not resist ordering an appetizer of takoyaki (fried octopus balls), a treat I’d not had in recent memory. The good sign was that the takoyaki was perfect. When the ramen arrived, everything looked just like how they make it in Japan, but the real test was the broth.

After tasting it, I had to get the chef’s story. Hiroto is a Tokyo native who studied at one of the culinary schools there that specifically trains Ramen chefs, and he told me that making the broth from scratch is a 10-hour process.

I am happy to pronounce that this is definitely the most authentic ramen I have had in Florida. Now if I could just find a place that makes okonomiyaki…

Ramen 369, 181 N.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach; 561/562-8399; facebook.com/Ramen369

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