Ramen, Red (toe) Sox and the Matsuzaka-effect
Blame it on the so-called “Matsuzaka effect.” Since the Japanese phenom pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka signed with the Boston Red Sox, we’ve heard all kinds of crazy things are happening in the hub.
If he’s really behind the resurgence of toe sox, it only seems fair to assume that he’s got something to do with the apprarent interest in a $13.00 bowl of mediocre ramen. That's okay, at least the Boston Globe is talking about real Japanese food for a change, not just the second-mortgage sushi spots.
(Photo credit: Barton Silverman:NYTimes)
On the plus side of the ledger we now have even the Boston.com folks talking about Onigiri. These are wonderful treats and not unlike the more familiar sushi. I love onigiri. In Japan, they are as popular as sandwiches are here. Maybe we will see them at Fenway? After all, Goya foods now serves Empanadas at Yankee Stadium. Why not.
For Japanese food, including onigiri, head to Porter Square. Kotobukiya is an authentic grocery store, carrying ramen, onigiri and just about anything else you might want in the way of Japanese groceries.
Recently, Boston was all abuzz with the Wagamama opening at Faneuil Hall. The first warning: it’s Faneuil Hall. Second: they’re a London-based operation. Serving not pub food, not Indian food, but Asian noodles. I was dubious.
Since my husband and a very good friend went to check it out, I’ll probably never be able to report back to you about my first person experience. Two educated palates giving Wagamama a big thumbs down is sufficient for me.
“Sodium intake for the month? Check." "Mad lines and bad service? Check.” Let’s just go to Chinatown, instead.
Add to those ringing endorsements, the fact that I’d have to walk through Chinatown where a really excellent bowl of ramen is never more than $7.00 fully loaded, to get there... You can see that the likelihood I’ll make it to Wagamama is about equal to the chances I’ll be wearing toe socks again.
Check out this crazy Japanese TV show as it's problem-solver goes to work for an empty ramen shop. (You may need to clear your cache before the link will work. Or, just go to Youtube and search for "Hard Gay Ramen". Yes, I'm serious.)
For more on ramen generally: see Bento's article on the ramen museum.
If you're on the road and want to know the best local ramen shop, check out Rameniac.com.
Just Hungry always makes me, well hungry! It's a terrific site packed with Japanese food and recipes.