Happy 2015 from Tokyo. It has been another great year of ramen slurping and spreading the ramen love worldwide. Ramen Adventures has been in the media quite a bit, and locally my food tours and ramen school have been doing great as well. There are a few things in the works that I will hopefully get to shortly.

Of course, we are spoiled here in Japan with ramen. And we are spoiled rotten in Tokyo, with quality shops popping up weekly. But what about overseas?  I try to follow ramen trends in America as best I can, and these are the top 5 shops that I want to slurp.

I should note that these are all bowls I have yet to try. I will never make a best-of list for American shops. (Unless some TV show wants to send me on a 20 city tour)

1. Ramen.co – New York

Everyone with an interest in food (in America at least) has heard of the ramen burger. And everyone has an opinion. I had a very early incarnation here in Tokyo, but am dying to try the one that took New York by storm. I’m also intrigued by the burger ramen, a soupless mazemen with burger meat.


2. Ivan Ramen – New York

Ivan’s NY shop takes a page from Momofuku’s success and offers a massive spread of izakaya inspired plates. I’ve never had anything besides noodles from the guy, so I’m curious if he can actually cook (all well respected reviewers say he can).


3. High Five Ramen – Chicago

When the crew behind many of Chicago’s trendiest restaurants hit me up for a food tour a few years back, I racked my brain on where to take them. What shops would be a good representation of Japanese ramen? Turns out my favorite spicy miso shop, Kikanbo, was their favorite as well. So much so that they serve a Kikanbo-inspired bowl (called Kanabo) as their main dish.

4. Otaku South – Nashville

Sarah Gavigan is awesome. She knows that American pork rivals that of anywhere else in the world. That was the basis of her ramen pop-up; start with fantastic pork and go from there. Nashville is a pretty unexpected place for a successful bowl of ramen, but apparently it is happening.


5. Umami – Tempe

A good friend’s favorite shop after returning home from Japan. I’ve spoken with the shop master, and they seem passionate about bringing ramen to the deserts of Arizona. I’m sold!


All photos stolen from the shop’s homepages.

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