Ramen is a lifestyle not a meal and no one knows this more than Ramen Route app team. They spent the last season curating a list of "must eats" ramen in a city that understands the noodle, New York. The team is based in Queens at SIMMER, a branch of Tech Incubator at Queens College (TIQC). This tech and food collaboration is uniting students from multidisciplinary fields to create food and health related technologies. Ramen Route was designed to connect users with the Ramen lifestyle through culturally enriching content. This restaurant mapping app also offers relevant ingredient introductions. Not only did they get to slurp up some swift coding as they learned to develop the app they also got to savor the opportunity to interview some of the north east's most prominent ramen connoisseurs. Here is a bit of what we boiled over in their conversations with ramen experts.
Q. If a first time customer comes in and want to know what your noodles taste like, what would you say?
A. (Jan ‘Jonjon’ Umbao.) "As cheesy as it sounds, I was in heaven. I was like, ‘Damn, this is the best bowl of ramen I’ve ever had’, and I’ve never felt that way with other restaurants, other ramen places.”
(Ayumi Hatai) "It’s euphoric. You’re getting that salt and sweetness. Yeah. Every shift we’re tasked to try the broth and make sure that it’s euphoric. And if it isn’t, we have to figure out why.”
Q. You are known for noodles but we heard you might be adding to menu. What should we expect?
A. "Yes, we recently added to our menu. We’re kind of going back to the Japanese traditional appetizers. We’re actually doing Sushi rolls and adding a Japanese traditional egg omelette to the menu, as well as tempura and premium sliced beef you grill at the table. Some new items are Hamachi Carpaccio, Miyazaki Wagyu Tobanyaki and Salmon Saikyo-Miso Yaki."
Q. You have an extensive background in the food industry what made you decide to create your first restaurant as a noodle based shop?
A. "I had the space for our restaurant before he had a concept. I’ve worked at various restaurants in NYC, like Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Bouley, Per Se, and more. I’ve always wanted my first restaurant to be a casual concept with elevated ingredients and food. I thought hard about what I wanted to do, and I realized Korean Ramen or Ramyun, lacked an elevated version. One of the most consumed foods in Korea, was mainly known for its instant noodle version. That’s when I decided to take the challenge of creating and re-defining Ramyun our way."
Q. How does it feel to be the first noodle restaurant in the U.S. to achieve Michelin star status?
A. "Words cannot describe how I feel. Upon receiving it, I was in disbelief and it took time for me to realize it was reality."
Q. Is it hard to be a woman chef in the male dominated food industry?
A. "Yes! There are always dogmatism to a male being the ramen chef and stigmatism to a female being the ramen chef. It's all about endurance. My advice to give to other women that wanted to be ramen chef is to endure it with passion."
Q. Did your background have any influence on your passion for ramen? How did you decide that you wanted to get into Japanese cuisine?
A. "My grandmother was the real influence. I’ve travelled all over the US and to Japan trying out all different types of Ramen. Till this day I am still just a true fan of the game. I still dine out at other ramen houses all the time because I truly love and have the utmost respect for anyone who had truly perfected their craft."
Find, Eat and Understand Ramen. Ramen Route was designed to connect users with the ramen lifestyle through culturally enriching content. This restaurant mapping app also offers unique ingredient introductions. Brought to you by SIMMER, a branch of The Tech Incubator at Queens College (TIQC), is a tech and food collaboration uniting students from multidisciplinary fields to create food and health related technologies.
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