There is never a bad time for a hot, steaming bowl of soup. It is my absolute favorite food. Monday night I decided to get some in the form of ramen. So, I headed over to Strings Ramen Shop in Chicago’s Chinatown.
Strings Ramen Shop is located just
1 1/2 blocks west of the Cermak-Chinatown ‘L’ stop along the CTA Red Line. You can also get there by taking the CTA Green Line to the Cermak-McCormick Place ‘L’ stop or the #62 Archer bus.
I live very close to Chinatown and, yet, I rarely eat in this neighborhood. I needed to correct this neglectful behavior immediately. Earlier this year, I sang the praises of Furious Spoon, another ramen shop in Wicker Park which is scratch making its own noodles on a monster machine imported from Japan. Well, guess what? Strings Ramen is another incredibly authentic spot which is doing the very same thing on the south side of town. And, just like Furious Spoon, Strings is focused primarily on ramen with a few appetizers. There are no big entrees on the menu to distract them from delivering an authentic and well-crafted bowl of ramen. Score!
Here’s how my dinner went down:
I chose the Tonkotsu Ramen with kuro buta (pork) which consists of a berkshire pork bone stock, black mayu oil, garlic oil, crushed garlic, scallions, bamboo shoots, black ear mushrooms, pickled ginger and nori. I had a choice of pork pork belly or pork loin. I picked the latter and I added bean sprouts.
My steaming, hot bowl of love was presented to me looking gorgeous! The noodles were perfect. They were just the right amount of chewy and al dente to stand up to the heat without completely wilting by the time I made my way to the bottom of the bowl. The broth? Well, I am still dreaming about it! It was expertly layered in flavor. Earthy but not too salty. The pork loin was thinly sliced and tasty. The veggies were the right amount of crunchy. Of course, I added some red hot chili flakes to the mix because I love my spice 🙂
Not into pork? No worries! Strings also offers Shio Ramen (turkey and chicken stock), Shoyu Ramen (fish and seaweed stock) and Miso Ramen (turkey and chicken stock plus three types of miso).
If you prefer to scarf down some cold noodles, you can try the Tsukemen which are part of the the summer menu at Strings. I plan on coming back for this as well as the “Hell Ramen” menu which features 5 levels of hellish heat to challenge your sweat glands and stomach. Sounds like a fun trip. Who wants to go to Hell with me?
The space at Strings Ramen is tiny but pleasant. It is nicely decorated and very clean. Another bonus is that is a B.Y.O.B. joint. So grab your cold beer and wine on the ride over there! This is one delicious and affordable dining experience.
I am so thrilled that I discovered Strings Ramen. It means a lot that they go the extra mile to create authentic noodles on their imported machine from Japan. Well, technically they went over 6,000 miles to get that machine : )
Strings Ramen is located at 2141 S. Archer Avenue. It is open Sunday – Thursday from 11am-12am and on Friday/Saturday from 11am-2am. There is a second location in Lincoln Park. Click here for more information.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Red/Green Lines or the #62 Archer bus to String Ramen Shop. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!