If you’ve ever been to England you’ll know it’s hard to find decent ramen. Of course there’s the chain restaurant like Shoryu, which is always a win. But independent ramen business’ outside of London? Good luck!
On our travels this week we happened to stumble upon just that! Oh, the shock! An independent ramen shop, called Shin Ramen, in Coventry. I almost fainted from disbelief.
I know what you’re thinking. Shin? Like the spicy ramen cup shin? No, you are wrong. Whilst we all love those spicy instant shin cups – that surely dissolve your insides, this was nothing of the sort; Shin ramen is a legit independently run ramen restaurant that deserves your attention immediately.
Unable to control our excitement, and need for ramen after having one of the most awful hangovers from gin we’d ever had, we were in the car and on our way. That visually milky delicious Tonkotsu broth was on the horizon, and in two and a half short hours we would be stuffing our faces.
Peddle to the metal; we were whizzing our way ramen bound.
Ramen was originally claimed to come from China back in the 1800s, and made its way to Japan in the 1900s – according to the Yokohama Ramen Museums records (a museum I’ve had the pleasure of actually visiting on my travels.)
It is said that after the Second- Sino Japanese War; a conflict fight between China and Japan – that the returning soldiers from China had brought back many dishes to add to their menus – ramen included. This was made easier also as cheap American flour was imported into Japan after World War ll, and made the noodle ingredients even more accessible; wheat flour, salt, water, and Kansui. Kansui is a type of alkaline mineral water used to color the noodles yellow, and make them firm, as it’s full of many minerals, and used to help it become that traditional ramen noodle that we know and love. Kansui itself was originally discovered in Mongolia were this mineral water was found in many lakes; it contains sodium carbonate, potassium carbonate, and phosphoric acid.
From then ramen has grown and adapted and there are so many different kinds, all of them marvelous, that this dish really is one of my favorite versatile dishes in the whole world – and has, due to popular demand, become available throughout the world, although you’ll struggle to find Japanese quality anywhere but in Japan. If you’ve ever tried to make ramen noodles you’ll know what I mean when I mention the four simple but complicated ingredients; if not, look it up. You’ll be surprised. It definitely ain’t no pasta recipe.
I also urge you to go to the Yokohama ramen museum, in Yokohama, if you can; it will change your life! (I’ll post an article on that another time.)
Anyway, back to Shin.
Upon walking up to the restaurant it looked extremely promising. Professional, detailed, and great decor…However, we’ve learnt from past experiences that sometimes there’s a lot of talk and not so much walk – as the saying goes.
I tried to keep my hopes at bay, and tried desperately to drink tonic water steadily with the worst shaky hangover hands you could imagine.
On the menu it said each dish of ramen would be accompanied by half a ramen egg. If you know me by now you know that I’m a complete egg slut. Eggs are my favorite, and the ramen egg can be a ‘make or break’ deal for me when eating this delicious dish. So, upon reading that you got half an egg (and knowing I’m a lucky girl and I’d get my husbands half an egg because he doesn’t eat them) I decided to order an extra one; totaling one and a half ramen eggs. Oh, the excitement! I could feel it in my toes.
One Tonkotsu ramen each, and one extra egg. Our order was placed; now the wait.
It only took around ten minutes, and as we waited patiently a deliciously big bowl of Tonkotsu passed us to go to another table; the smell was so beautiful that I knew we’d made a good decision. This was going to be a good day.
Now literally bouncing in my seat with excitement, unable to sit still, or stop shakily drinking tonic water, I imagined what that first taste would be like.
Here it came; my image of heaven in a bowl. It was steamy, it was fragrant, and as it touched down in front of me, swish swoshing from side to side in the bowl, I could have cried tears of joy.
I was wrong about the egg though; I’d like to share this with you so you can have a laugh at my misfortune. It was not half an egg each, it was a whole egg, so I now had 3 whole ramen eggs to eat. I shrugged it off; I believed in myself and I was ready to eat until I couldn’t eat anymore. Game on ramen, game on!
The eggs were perfectly runny with those creamy yolks; marinated in the soy and mirin to something that was out of this world.
Next, the broth… it could have been a little saltier for me, but a quick add of soy sauce and it was exactly what I wanted. My inner fat kid was so happy that I literally couldn’t even talk to my husband; I just continued to eat.
The broth was topped with bean sprouts, ginger, scallions, bamboo, sesame seeds, and all kinds of delicious goodness.
But the pork, let me tell you about the pork! Holy chashu on a bicycle; it was flavor city, and it melted completely in your mouth. In fact, it was so perfectly cooked that I could barely pick it up with my chopsticks without it falling apart. Had I died and gone to heaven? I was unsure, but I continued to chow down towards those famous noodles.
The ramen noodles were definitely homemade and had the perfect consistency of sticky, a slight crunchy, and the perfected flavor of delicious ramen. Shin ramen was no joke.
The most excellent independent ramen restaurant find in the UK, after only using chains so far. Thank the ramen gods for this beautiful discovery; I can’t tell you how long I’ve been searching for a small local shop.
Shin is now my favorite place to go; and if I ever find myself in, or near, Coventry again I’ll be going back not once, or twice, but multiple times to get my fix during each trip.
10 out of 10. Shin not only stole my heart, but my stomach space, and quite possibly my husband who loved it so much he also wanted to get ramen to go for later! Usually I’d advise against ramen to go if it was all in one dish, but they do it pretty good; the noodles are in a tub with the toppings, and the broth is separate in its own container ready to heat up later and pour on. Genius! Construct your own ramen at home and have the same quality; of course I want ramen to go!
Don’t hesitate; no matter how far you have to travel just make that trip to Coventry if you’re a ramen lover. You won’t regret it, I can promise you that.
Until next time,