Ramen Lab, George Kao and Ganso

Posted on May 28, 2013 in Hiroko's Blog

My friend and sake connoisseur, George Kao, moved on from New York Mutual Trading to Sun Noodles for a new challenge in his career several months ago. I spotted him working at Ramen Lab station at Smorgasburg, Brooklyn, during Food Book Fair. Ramen Lab, which is headed by a chef Shigetoshi Nakamura, is Sun Noodle company’s test kitchen where it offers educational events in order to deepen the understanding of ramen in America.

At the Fair Chef Nakamura was serving mazemen. Mazemen literally means “noodles tossed with little flavored broth”. Ramen noodles does not come with generous amount of delicious hot steaming broth. This style of dish was invented around 1950’s and served to the cooks as staff meals at ramen restaurants. The use of little flavored broth is the way not to waste time consuming, expensive broth for staff meals. Here you can see the dish which I savored – noodles topped with ramen egg, mushroom and chicken. Chef Nakamura prepares chicken in the same manner as we do for pork belly. “Chicken is more popular than pork belly here in America”, chef says. The mazemen was fantastic.

Here is the noodles which they were cooking. George explained to me that the noodles are super elastic. After I squeezed some in my hand and let it go, noodles sprung back like an animal. According to George, the dough is rolled four times to build strong gluten. Sun Noodles carry six different types of ramen noodles – Temomi Noodle, Tonkotsu Noodle, Tokyo Wavy Noodle, Tokyo Straight Noodle, Hirauchi Noodle and Sapporo Noodle. If you love ramen, visit http://sunnoodle.com/ramenlab.

I would also like mention a new ramen restaurant in Brooklyn. It is Ganso (25 Bond Street, Brooklyn). They serve my favorite Tokyo style Shoyu broth ramen. I do not like heavy, sticky fatty tonkotsu broth. Ganso’s gyoza is also excellent. Oh…now I am hungry for ramen and gyoza.