This week we are in Philadelphia, and it feels good to be back reviewing restaurants after a dry spell in not so good hotel/work locations.
The starvation of good eats has seemed to take its toll on morale at Casa Conley, but we’ve been pumping out some fantastic home cooked meals which you can find on my Instagram @AHangryWife !
As always when we get to a big city I know that there will be plenty of ramen restaurants for us to choose from, and I can always guarantee we’ll find a winner.
The winner of Philadelphia for us was hands down Terakawa on 204 N 9th street; after finding this delicious little restaurant I no longer wanted to try any other ramen joints, and was extremely content to destroy myself in bowl after bowl of yummy Tonkotsu.
As of now we have made two trips to Terakawa; one in the afternoon and one at night.
The first time we walked straight in and snagged a table for three; the second time had a wait of about twenty minutes to seat my husband and two friends.
However, I would like to say that you should not be disheartened by a wait at this little ramen joint, because I can guarantee you’ll be blown away, and the rotation of ramen lovers actually progresses rather quickly.
The restaurant looks deceivingly small upon first glance, but once inside you’ll realize that many seats are available, and yet at no point did we feel squashed.
I also loved the idea of the ramen bar, which is where we sat on our second visit (notice it on the left of the picture above), and I loved that we could get a glimpse into the kitchen and all of the behind the scenes magic; just try to calm yourself and refrain from drooling, although it is most definitely inevitable.
Within a few seconds, on both trips, a menu was in front of us lined with mouthwatering dishes; by the second visit I had mastered my ramen ordering to a perfect bowl of my liking, and I’m going to let you in on that beautiful discovery coming up, but first – let me talk about the menu and our first trip.
When you first open the menu you will be alarmed at just how many ramen options there are, and equally how many other dishes are available for you eat; I was, however, here for a ramen experience so I skipped the rest of the menu knowing that my stomach could only handle one thing at a time.
If you find yourself in a mood other than ramen, which maybe means you need to get checked and see if you’re feeling ok, then there are plenty of options for you to choose from with appetizers and mains ranging from: gyoza, onigiri, Takoyaki, pork buns, chicken buns, donburi of all kinds, curry and Katsu platters of all kinds, desserts, and even vegetarian ramen to name a few.
My first order with the waitress went along the lines of ‘I’ll take a seaweed salad, with a Terakawa signature ramen (Tonkotsu) please, and I’ll choose the wavy egg noodle’.
It wasn’t long before the seaweed salad arrived, and of course it was just as delicious as usual and I destroyed the whole thing in a few seconds
Next, I’d like to talk about the Tonkotsu, which was their Terakawa signature.
This specific ramen tastes absolutely fabulous and creamy, but comes with three pieces of chashu pork, half a ramen egg, bamboo, red ginger, scallions, and kikurage mushroom; it’s a classic Tonkotsu setup that I’ve been used to many times before.
Typically, this would have been the best option at this restaurant for me hands down, because it was up there with some of the best Tonkotsu I’ve ever had; the ramen egg had me clapping at my seat with its velvet yolk, and I had made a great decision to switch my thin ramen noodles with the yellow wavy egg noodles I love so deeply, and I’d urge you to make the switch too.
Now, before I get carried away about just how good this ramen joint is; let me blow your mind.
Take a look at this same meal outing from my husbands point of view, and notice the difference between his pork ramen, which was the ‘Chashu Men’, and mine in the picture above.
You’ll notice that there are not many ingredients to the naked eye in his bowl, and then you’ll surely ask where I’m going with this.
You’ll also notice that there is no ramen egg in his bowl, and I can hear the protests now as you all shout – ‘Mrs. Conley, you love the ramen eggs, how could you?!’ – but let me stop you right there.
I promise I’m not crazy when I say that this bowl of ramen is SIGNIFICANTLY better than the other from my point of view, and still holds all the same love of their signature Tonkotsu; the broth is the same porky, creamy, flavorful broth that we know, love, and admire for its many hours of cooking, and still I hear you asking why?
Well, here it is…
while I am partial to the bamboo, and the mushrooms, and all of the toppings that go on a classic Tonkotsu ramen, I am forever going to be in love with the four main components of this wholesome dish: the pork, the broth, the noodles, and the egg.
Look at my bowl on the second visit and now clap in happiness at my ramen win.
There it is, in all its beauty, the Chashu Men.
I’m not crying, you are.
Notice that there at six thick pieces of pork – an upgrade to the previous three – which are seared and cooked to perfection (you’ll notice this before they even touch your lips as you struggle to pick them up without the meat simply falling apart.)
The dish still has red ginger, and scallions, but notice that I added a whole ramen egg myself and subbed the thin ramen noodles once more for those wavy egg noodles that hold a special place in my heart.
You’ll also be happy to know that my husband, in true hungry form, ordered a side of wavy egg noodles both times and we struggled to finish the meal without exploding; so unless you’re ravenous, a sharing team, or have a big stomach capacity, I’d skip the extra noodles – ha.
For me, I love the idea of all of my favorite components in one bowl, and using my valuable stomach space solely on each and every one of them; it’s simple, it’s to the point, and it’s basically my dream ramen layout that I’d happily order every time if I could.
It’s also great that none of the broth or flavors are weakened due to less ingredients, and still hold the same level of magical flavor to the signature dish that lived up to Tonkotsu bowls I’d had in Japan.
Maybe your opinions are different, and maybe you’d like the traditional, but whether you choose the signature OR the Chashu men, I know that you won’t be disappointed by quality and flavor at this little Philly ramen joint that is surely a top contender on their ramen scene, if not thee top.
I’d also like to point out that if after reading this you’re wondering what other yummy ramens await, then you’ll be glad to pick from a miso ramen, Shoyu Ramen, spicy tan tan ramen, Mayu ramen, and many more.
I cannot urge you enough to get out and get to Terakawa to see, and taste, for yourself.
Another awesome component is that the restaurant itself is BYOB, how cool!
In the end you may pay a couple of dollars more for the Chashu men, but I can guarantee you it’s worth it beyond belief. And if not? Well, it doesn’t really matter because both ramens are fantastic in the same way, but for me it came down to personal preference.
Terakawa stole our hearts, and I’m hoping to make it back a third time before we leave Philadelphia, and I’d like to encourage you to send me your Terakawa Ramen pictures upon your visit at any social media account of your choice.
If you liked this review then don’t forget to find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @AHangryWife
Until next time,