New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Noodle nirvana: Ramen shops near campus you can’t miss

From your standard chashu, noodles and broth to deconstructive twists, here are some local ramen shops that deserve your attention.

As we’re in the midst of winter, nothing warms the soul like a steaming bowl of mouthwatering noodles, rich broth and succulent slabs of pork belly. The ramen craze has been around for some time now, but the trend seems to keep picking up speed with many new spots popping up around the city.

Before getting into our list, if you want to be a true ramen-head, you need to watch “Tampopo,” a Japanese film about a single mother named Tampopo who starts a ramen shop with the help from a trucker cowboy named Goro. So, the next time you find yourself at one of our recommended shops and savoring some ramen, make sure to tilt your bowl of remaining broth straight into your mouth and slurp it down loudly. It is a sign of respect, according to a story in the book of ramen etiquette that Goro lives by. 


230 Thompson St.

A neon red sign on a wood-panel wall reads "Karakatta" with a kanji letter.
Karakatta. (Rehma Saqib for WSN)

Conveniently located near Washington Square Park and serving the best ramen on this list, Karakatta is hard to beat. Karakatta is a classic no-frills spot with an interior bathed in moody red lighting. I ordered the tonkotsu ramen, which had generous offerings of pork belly and an ooey-gooey soft-boiled egg.

The combination of all the rich ingredients may seem overwhelming, but somehow they are all harmoniously balanced. The salty slice of pork belly — submerged in a hot, umami bone broth — effortlessly melts in your mouth, while the firm yellow noodles coat themselves in the velvety lard of the broth. Altogether, each component of this dish coalesces to form an incredible ramen miracle.

Jun-Men Ramen Bar

249 Ninth Ave.

Although further away in Chelsea and a little pricier, Jun-Men Ramen Bar is well worth your lunchtime rush. Walking inside, you are instantly greeted by an open kitchen in the back, a sleek bar and an assortment of minimalistic tables and stools. Jun-Men only seats a few people at a time, so make sure to secure a reservation in advance. Out of all the ramen shops I’ve ever been to, Jun-Men is easily the most unique as it serves a no-broth dish called Uni Mushroom, a Japanese pasta layered with uni — sea urchin roe — roasted pancetta, truffle oil and parmesan cheese.

The Uni Mushroom deconstructed ramen has it all — the fishiness from the uni, nuttiness of the pancetta and creaminess from the parmesan come together for an unconventional yet unparalleled ramen eating experience. And, as the cherry on top, the mushrooms and truffle oil-infused broth will leave you with a full belly for sure.

Minca Ramen Factory

536 E Fifth St.

The interior of a ramen shop, with tables and an open kitchen. A person stands in the kitchen cooking.
Minca Ramen Factory. (Qianshan Weng for WSN)

This ramen shop is a hole in the wall and ideal for a quick bite. About a mile walk away from Washington Square Park, Minca is a bit of a cramped space, but perfect for an intimate setting. At Minca, you’ll find yourself slightly hunched down in close quarters with a bowl of ramen wafting into your face. The restaurant also likes to play a selection of songs by Bob Marley and the Wailers, making the atmosphere upbeat yet oddly charming. I got miso ramen with corn, which was served to me within five minutes of ordering.

The pop of the corn when biting down added great texture to the ramen. However, there were too many bean sprouts for my liking, since I’m personally not a fan of bean sprouts in my ramen — I’m much more of a noodle connoisseur. But I couldn’t go wrong with the pork belly as it broke apart easily and had beautifully rendered fat.

Ramen Misoya

129 Second Ave.

Beige storefront with a black sign that says “RAMEN MiSOYA” in orange lettering.
Misoya. (Daffa Ariawin for WSN)

Once you pull back the curtain of Ramen Misoya’s East Village location, you immediately enter a cozy, red-brick establishment with bamboo lining the ceiling. Specializing in miso ramen, I made sure to order Ramen Misoya’s superior Shiro Miso Cha-Shu Ramen, which included a soft-boiled egg, pork belly pieces, bean sprouts and fried tofu.

Much like in Minca’s ramen, there were too many bean sprouts in each bite of noodles, and the soft-boiled egg was closer to hard-boiled. However, the pork belly was pleasantly firmer than others I’ve tried, and, when doused in the memorable miso broth, created a symphony of umami in your mouth.

Contact Aidan Levin at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Qianshan Weng
Qianshan Weng, Multimedia Editor
Qianshan Weng is a junior studying Media, Culture and Communication and Journalism. You may pronounce his name as "chi''en-shan", or, if it makes your life easier, just call him "Ben." He grew up in Shenzhen, China, and has spent the last five years or so saying that he wants to learn Cantonese. The answers to the questions "when will he finally start?" and "why is this taking him so long?" remain mysteries, even to himself. You can reach out to him at [email protected]

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