20 S. 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
After the abject failure of Ramen Boy to produce a decent bowl of this soul-soother with a cult-like following, it was time to see what the west side of Broad had to offer. Nom Nom Ramen (hate the name) is in a close proximity to many office workers, and offers a no frills bowl of noodle soup that is pretty damn delicious.
Just note that it's cash only. Though somewhat unfortunate for the quick business-lunchers, it's worth a trip to the ATM on your way.
The interior is a standard "order at the counter and wait to be called" operation. They have a somewhat limited menu, which is a plus. Focus on your strong points. People are not at the Ramen shop for California rolls. Or at least they shouldn’t be. Seating is first come, first served.
The small but effective kitchen pumps out orders quite quickly. As they should, because they are mostly serving soup. There were a couple of interesting side items like soft shell crab dumplings and pork belly buns, and a half dozen or so soups to choose from.
From the left, clockwise, I ordered Shio, extra noodles, Karai miso (spicy), and the pork buns.
The pork buns were solid, light, fluffy vessels wrapped around a variety of ingredients such as Chashu pork, daikon, carrots, lettuce, scallions, and spicy bun sauce which tasted like a slightly spicy hoisin.
The pork was extremely tender, and the toppings were fresh and crunchy. The sauce had a rich, pungent, kick to it. Altogether, it was a great side to go with some soup. Even if everything I ordered already had pork belly in it.
Below is the Shio (seasoned with salt and white soy sauce) tonkotsu (pork bone) broth served with chashu, kikurage mushrooms, naruto, bamboo, scallions, and pickled ginger. This one was killer. The broth had a fragrent, yet delicate odor, and the flavor was so soothing I was wishing I had a head cold to nurse. The tender pork belly is a welcome treat when slurping up noodles, and the richness makes a couple of slices last the entire bowl. I loved this Ramen.
Karai miso, a spicy version of their miso soup is another winner. Although it lacked the finesse of the shio, it scored big in the spice department. I got it extra spicy, and it had a great kick. The rich broth was tempered by the springy noodles, and fatty pork. This was a real “sweat it out” type dish, and I couldn’t have been happier.
The extra noodles were not entirely necessary, and when I started the meal, I thought they were overkill, but by the end, I was evenly dividing them between bowls, happy to slurp up every last drop of delicious broth.
I highly recommend this ramen bar, and I think you will find it to be just what the doctor ordered on a blustery winter day. For once, soup really is a meal.