An Attempt To Make Ramen From Scratch Turns Into An Absolute Disaster (But It Was Still Fun)


David Pemberton

“I think we can make this at home,” I said, halfway through eating a large bowl of traditional tonkotsu-style ramen.

Sara, my girlfriend, nodded her head from side to side—as she often does when forming a response to one of my half-assed ideas like fighting a biker gang or consulting a psychic.

“Really?” she asked. “You own two pots.”

We were on a rare date at San Francisco’s Ramen Izakaya Goku, a shop known for cooking everything from scratch while using only the best ingredients. The ramen I ordered, tonkotsu, is traditionally made with a thick broth made from pork bones boiled with fat and collagen for more than sixteen hours before it’s blended with soy sauce and chicken stock. The result is hearty flavor and a creamy, almost milky consistency. The noodles are thin and wavy—not unlike instant ramen—and it is served topped with a pickled slice of ginger called shoga, sesame oil, crushed garlic, sliced pork belly, and a single, tea-poached egg.

And for some reason, after eating it just once, I honestly thought that I could replicate it seamlessly.

“Two pots is enough,” I said (like a jackass). “One for the broth and one for the noodles. And I’m pretty sure I know how to make these eggs.”

“It sounds really cool,” Sara said, patiently. “And we’re always so busy, it would be nice to spend a whole evening together. Let’s try it.”

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