Yume Wo Katare Ramen
I don't know why I haven't written about this place before, especially because I was there during their opening back in 2012, but it's about time. Well ok - Yume Wo Katare...it's located right in Porter Square in sort of the same area as the Shaws. Now, they say bring your appetite (or else, really...don't go), but some of you who may really be hungry might find yourselves going elsewhere. The reason is because there's always about a 45 minute or so wait outside the small ramen shop. I mean, they've gotten better since my initial 2 hour queue time, but still, rain, snow, sleet or shine, there will always at least a half hour wait...outside - on the streets.
Now, I've been to this place maybe 5 or 6 times since its opening, and don't get me wrong, it is GOOD, even amazing, but it's definitely not for everyone. I mean, still try it, but it maybe too much for some people. The ramen is a Jiro styled one. Ramen Jiro is somewhat different from many of the Japanese ramen we are used to. I was listening to a Japanese man on the bus and even he said that this is a very different style than he is used to. The broth is pork based and it's thinner than some of the miso styled ones I've tried, but the broth also has a large amount of pork fat in it, which makes finishing the entire bowl of ramen all the more difficult. Jiro ramen noodles are typically very thick and chewy. I want to describe the ones at Yume Wo Katare like if someone tried to make spaghetti with their hands, but didn't have a pasta roller and decided to just make long noodles by rubbing their hands together back and forth. The noodles come out lumpy, thick and al dente, and is absolutely delicious. The pork is super super soft, probably because of how fatty the cut is.
The Kitchen Where the Magic is Made
A view from the front stool seats
Here's I guess the downside. This bowl of ramen is very very salty. I didn't really like it the first time, but it's a flavor that sticks with you and you learn to crave it. It's sort of like really intensely flavored chips or chicken wings - yes, it gets very salty, but the flavor sort of gets addictive. One of the things you can add to the noodles for free is abura - cooked down pig fat (you can also add garlic and veggies). You should do this sparingly because although it is amazingly delicious in the richest of ways, this bowl of ramen really fills you up. The small, which contains 2 pieces of pork is $12 and the large which contains 5 pieces is $14. Most people, after waiting in line that long, get the $14 bowl, but again, most people have a hard time finishing. Don't force yourself. I've seen some people enter into this weird food comma phase as they're trying to finish the final bits of their noodle. Yes, it's good, but you're going to make yourself sick afterwards. It's funny because I see a lot of Westerners, I'm talking specifically about the guys, who go in and have the hardest time finishing the entire bowl of noodles. Then I see Japanese men with considerably smaller build finish that with no problem. I think they're used to digesting this stuff a little better or something.
Close up of the noodles
Either way, it's something unique that I've never tasted till now, and I've done my fair share of traveling through Asia. It's not for everyone, but I firmly believe everyone needs to try it to make the decision for themselves. Just a warning - they only take cash and you can't take the stuff away if you don't finish...It's sort of an "enjoy the moment while you're there" type of place.