A Brief Cultural History of Ramen
Now a cultural icon of Japanese cuisine, Ramen is actually a foreigner. The dish is estimated to have arrived from China around 1910 and was termed shina soba “Chinese soba” until the 1950s. After World War II, rice, one of Japan’s food staples, was hard to acquire due to strict food regulations, and this created a dependence on the wheat imported from the United States. Ramen popularized wheat as a substitute while also being nourishing as a “stamina” food, heavy in garlic and oil. It wasn’t until the 1980s that Ramen became a fashionable culinary item and the trend continues today. There is an estimate of 21,000 ramen shops in Greater Tokyo alone! As a quick, flavorful, and wholesome dish, it is clear why Ramen is the go-to meal for the rapid lifestyle of modern Japan.
Bōru Ramen Bar Review
As a new resident in the Waldo area of KCMO, Bōru Ramen Bar has attracted a diverse crowd of curious foodies. The restaurant greets its customers with a modern design created from a chic palette of greyscale tones highlighted with bold reds. While maintaining an ambiance of Japanese culture through decor, such as ink wash painting prints, the menu presents an inclusive variety of Asian cuisine from Chinese to Korean. What is more impressive is the diversity of imported assortments in the bar including choices from Japanese & Taiwanese Whiskies to Soju and Sake.
Bōru Ramen Bar offers Happy Hour specials from 3pm-6pm everyday of the week. A wonderful feature! To start, I selected the Sho Chiku Bai Silky Mild Nigori, an unfiltered sake, as well as the Steamed Pork Bao and Bulgogi Lettuce Wrap. The combination of pork belly, hoisin mayonnaise, and pickles made the Steamed Pork Bao a tasty, savory starter that complimented the subtle sweetness of the perfectly steamed bun.
In juxtaposition to this mild flavor, the Bulgogi Lettuce Wrap stole the show and favoritism from my taste buds. The shaved ribeye, kimchi, and spicy gochujang melded together in a complimentary union of spice. Luckily the mild sweetness of the Sho Chiku Bai Silky Mild Nigori sake dowsed the heat of the dish.
For my entrée, I ordered the Mushroom Ramen made of soy-pickled shiitake, shimejis, king mushrooms, greens, and shoyu-seared tofu. The bowl of ramen was quite good, but it was missing the craveable unity of umami. As the ‘star’ of Bōru, the ramen fell flat and does not achieve the distinguished flavor profile one expects when ordering this dish. A Westernized rendition, if you will. However, I will gladly return to Bōru Ramen House for their delectable Happy Hour bites and wondrous drink selection!
3 bites out of 5