Naturally, we started off at Ivan Ramen. We snagged a reservation for the first seating, and we ate.
Triple Pork-Triple Garlic Mazamen was a “nontraditional” noodle dish, since it did not have soup but rather just a little bit of thick broth at the bottom. It truly lived up to the garlic name, and the flavor was incredible. It is salty in the best way.
The fried chicken is also fantastic — crunchy, great flavor, and tender on the inside.
We came back again, and we tried the pork buns. Those were stellar. The bun was fluffy, the pork was fatty, and the flavor was so rich. Unlike the pork buns at some other places, this pork bun did not try to be too adventurous.
Another stop: JeJu Noodle Bar. This place is set inside the Nighthawk bar, and it is sleek and minimalist and cool. JeJu’s specialty is Korean ramyun, which is different from ramen, but still incredibly comforting.
For starters, we got the pork buns and the Korean fried chicken. The fried chicken here is different from Ivan’s in that it’s less sweet (still delicious). The pork buns are where it gets interesting. Same tender meat and fluffy bun, but they add corn, jalapeño and Ssam sauce. I love corn, but the textures were a slightly odd combination.
(Image taken from JeJu Noodle Bar’s instagram page)
For the main, I chose the Gochu Ramyun. It’s spicy, fatty, decadent, and filling. The broth is thick with pork fat, scallion oil, and kimchi. The noodles have a great bite to them and pick up the flavors of the soup so well.
(Image from my instagram stories)
Our last noodle adventure was at Jun-Men Ramen Bar.
When they say it’s a ramen “bar,” they mean it. There are a few tables, but the chunk of seating comes from a communal table with slightly over 10 seats available. It’s cozy, minimalist, and simple.
The pork buns here are the best we’ve had, of the three. The appetizer menu offers “Pork Buns” or a “BBQ Pork Buns.” We went with the former, as it was more traditional. And it truly was traditional. The flavors hewed very closely to the homemade pork buns I grew up with; it had the richness of the Ivan Ramen pork bun…but just better.
(Image taken from Jun-Men Ramen’s instagram page).
The ramen here is good, but not as stellar as the other places. I chose the Spicy Pork Bone; the soup had a nice flavor to it, but I felt like the ingredients were a bit lacking. I still liked it enough to pack my leftovers and eat it very happily the next day, so it’s not like it was a bad bowl of noodles. Maybe the pork buns were just too good.
(This one is from my instagram stories)
All three of these places are good, and they are each different unique. Going to one will not make the other redundant. Highly recommend trying them all.