Archive for the ‘Ramen’ Category

Yume Wo Katare – I Dream of Ramen

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

The Hours

Location: Cambridge, MA

The Foodie: Strongly Recommends

If you’ve walked through Porter Square between the hours of 6 and 10pm recently, you may have noticed something different.

By day, an unassuming storefront with a foreign name – Yume Wo Katare lights up for a few hours five nights a week to shovel a delicacy beyond words into bowls for a line of hungry hungry hipsters that stretches to the door of Dunkin’ Donuts and can command over an hour long wait.

As you stand in said line, people will stop open-mouthed and stare at Yume not quite understanding what the hype is all about. They may even ask you what everyone is waiting for. You might say “Ramen” and receive a confused look.

Don’t worry – these misguided individuals just don’t understand.

During your experience in line – you are likely to bond with your fellow Ramenites, marvel at the popularity of Yume, and study the rulebook of eating here. A few tips for your first visit:

  1. Come hungry, and arrive at the beginning of the night (15 minutes before opening recommended)
  2. Bring no more than one other ravenous individual to ensure a small party
  3. Do not plan on takeout, for this is not an option
  4. Bring a wad of cash, for they do not take plastic
  5. Enjoy pork. Liking pork belly is better. Loving noodle soup also imperative. There is only one variety of Ramen served here and it involves loving spoonfuls of both.
  6. Read the helpful posters of information taped to the windows as you wait in line, for lots of useful information awaits you.
  7. Be prepared for whether you want Ramen ($12) or Buta Ramen ($14). The difference is the number of pork slices you receive – the regular ramen gets you two slices and the buta gets you a whopping five.
  8. Know the answer to the question: “Ninniku Iremasuka?” or “Do you want garlic?” This will be politely screamed at you after your order is taken at the register.
  9. Know that every minute of your wait will be worth it, and that the idiosyncrasies are a fun part of the experience of eating here – in other words, pick up your britches and get ready to eat!

Do you want garlic?

RAMEN REVIEW: Yume’s bowl of Ramen is a tantalizing creation that will hook you at the first slurp. It starts with a broth that is one part abura (pork fat), one part soy, and one part マジック  I’ve read that this broth is lovingly cared for over the course of 24 hours and simmered with pork bones. Then you’ve got cabbage and bean sprouts. Next, there’s a heaping ladle of thick house-made noodles boiled quickly in a huge wok. Finally, there’s the most succulent and tender pork you’ve ever tasted. They use a fattier, thick, pork-belly-like cut. I’m not exactly sure how they do it, but it’s gotta be marinated and slow-cooked for several hours at the very least. The Jiro-style of ramen served at Yume is the first of its kind in the U.S.

At the first bite the world around me melted away, downtempo started playing in my head, my eyelids grew heavy, and I uttered a slow food moan. I tasted this Ramen in my soul.

Waaay Tastier Than It Looks - Trust Me.

Now mind you, I wasn’t able to make it into the wildly popular Guchi’s Midnight events that sold out quicker than a U2 concert. I also haven’t tried the ramen at Uni. Sadly, I’ve never been to Japan either. So don’t consider me a ramen connoisseur. But I’d venture to say that this will rank up there with some of the better ramen you’ve ever sampled. It’s also probably authentic stuff.

I will end this synopsis with a short story to illustrate the uniqueness of Yume:

When we were seated and our ramen orders were ready, a server gingerly carried a bowl over to my dining chum and murmured something quickly in Japanese that I would assume was something like bon appétit. We slid the bowl down to me before our second bowl arrived and our server looked let down by the switcheroo. We wondered why. At the end of the meal I asked why each bowl of ramen is destined for a single individual and our server translated my question for the chef. He said “I connect to you.”

You connected to me Yume. You tickled my food gland. You spoke to my sinews. I will return.

Other views and information on Yume:

Boston Globe

Boston Phoenix

Japanese American in Boston

Yume Wo Katare Kyoto (the other location in Japan)