My very first experience of authentic ramen goes back to 2013 when I made my first trip to Hong Kong. Now, before you go “machaan… Ramen is Japanese da. What food blogger you are?”, the origins of ramen aren’t quite clear with historical records stating that it was the Chinese who created the noodle ( known as lamian) and the dish perfected by the Japanese in the early 20th century; among other theories, none of which are relevant to my love for this wonderful dish.
While we witness the end of summer, and all the mango inspired food festivals and beers, Fatty Bao welcomes the monsoon with their ramen festival. Aptly title ‘Raining Ramen’, the festival showcases soulful ramen bowls from across south East Asia. I was invited to experience what the team had to offer. That afternoon, I didn’t have any reinforcements who could order different bowls and I could get a taste of almost everything on the menu. Requesting for smaller portions so that I could try more than just one bowl, I started off with the Spicy Crab Gyoza & Miso Butter Ramen. This bowl of ramen was so wonderfully balanced with flavours of the smoked tomato shining through without overpowering the otherwise delicate flavour of the crab and the sinful miso butter. The team had done a fabulous job of having delicate and robust flavours in one dish. This particular bowl of ramen makes it to the list of ‘food that hits your soul’. The ramen was accompanied by a pleasing Thai-inspired mocktail called Bora Bora, a mixture of passion fruit, coconut water and green apple. Put together, these two were ideal companions for a cloudy monsoon afternoon of reading and ‘me time’.
The second ramen bowl I ordered was intense and in-your-face. The Braised Lamb Tantamen Ramen offered a very meaty slow-cooked lamb bone broth that would bring joy to the heart of only a staunch non-vegetarian. Served with curly noodles, peanuts and chilli, this bowl was Trooper by Iron Maiden compared to last bowl which was a Nocturne by Chopin. While there was nothing wrong with any of the flavours, this one is recommended only to the hard core non veg lover… you know the kind that enjoys bone marrow… definitely not the ‘leg piece chicken biryani’ eater. This bowl was paired with a far more sober mocktail of watermelon, basil and chamomile tea called the Melon Sipper.
Dessert was another delightful affair. Not a part of the ramen food festival menu, I ordered the Lemon Tart. This was a very pretty dish comprising of lemon mousse, pistachio crumble, mint meringue, raspberry sorbet and an almond sable. Perfectly balanced out without being too citrusy or too sweet, the dessert was just what the doctor ordered (or the waiter recommended) to mute the very intense flavours of the lamb broth from earlier.
The festival offers a range of ramen bowls from pork to duck breast to even green tea. The festival runs till the 20th of July, across all Fatty Bao restaurants in India. The price starts at INR 395++ for the vegetarian options and INR 425++ for the non-vegetarian options.
PS – I made the mistake of writing this post late at night, and am craving for some ramen right now. I’ll have to make do with fruit ( Bah!)