Monday, July 23, 2012

Minca Ramen Factory in New York (Guest post!)

Mina Ramen Factory

Thank you Michael Vito for this guest post. Michael writes and shoots over at Like a Fish in Water, a site all about urban environments and their relationships with government and the private sector. In Tokyo (and New York) the popular urban ramen shop is a wonderful thing, bringing thousands of people a great bowl. Thanks for the guest post!

Few would confuse this mostly residential block of 5th Street in New York’s East Village with any part of Osaka or Tokyo. Yet whenever I feel nostalgic for the little comforts and pleasures of Japan, I seem to end up back here at Minca Ramen Factory. The unassuming storefront is easy to miss for first time visitors, though when the wind blows right the telltale stench of long simmered pork bones will lead the way.

minca ramen

In 2004, Minca was born out of Chugoku transplant Shigeto Kamada’s long running, unrequited craving for authentic ramen in New York. Unlike Ippudo, Totto, Minca’s sister shop Kambi and a handful of other shops that have popped up in the intervening years, Minca eschews the sleek design and predictable Asian flourishes common of this market segment. The interior is cramped and ever so slightly grimy, with exposed brick walls and a few touches of chiguhagu (mismatched) decoration that would make Martha Stewart cringe. Despite this, or maybe it’s because of this, the atmosphere never comes off as anything other than causal, comfortable and friendly, with warm smiles from behind the bar looking out over the crowd of happy slurpers.

minca ramen

Kamada-san’s flagship bowl is a blended tonkotsu and torigara stock, flavored withshoyu tare and purée of roasted garlic. When I first found Minca several years ago, they used thin, white and wire-hard Hakata-style noodles. In the last year or so there was a switch over to something a little thicker and more yellow (my hunch is higher kansui content), but still plenty toothy and springy. The soup is full-bodied, but not quite so viscous and hefty as an unadulterated tonkotsu, so I think the newer noodle suits it well. Thick, buttery slabs of chashu, negi, kikurage, menma, a seasoned hard-boiled egg and sheet of nori come standard.

minca gyoza

Minca also serves up crispy, juicy ebi gyoza.

minca ramen

The bar seating offers a great view into the preparation area. As I had arrived just after opening, I caught large sheets of steeping kombu being rescued from the day’s first batch of dashi.

minca ramen

Life is better with large, steaming vats of simmered pork and chicken bones.

minca ramen

At just after opening, and with temperatures already approaching the realm of 90-100°F and humid, there wasn’t much of a crowd at Minca on this day. In the evenings and come cooler weather, you’ll be looking at a typical ramenya wait of 10-30 minutes, depending on queue length. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Official Site Here

View Larger Map

536 East Fifth Street
New York, NY, 10009

Open everyday 12:00-23:30


Anonymous said...

The noodles here are terrible and the bowl is unimpressive. I don't know what the hype is all about

Unknown said...

I'm really a big fan of ramens, my favorite is actually the oriental-flavored one. I would love to give this shop a try since it says that they've got Japanese-flavored one's. And I assume that since they said its a factory of Ramen they are following lock out tag out procedures to be able to ensure that the foods they are serving are safe and are in high-quality meaning they are rally safe to eat.

Unknown said...

After our wedding in suffolk county catering halls. We would definitely visit the Minca Ramen Factory, I bet my husband would love the Kamada-san’s flagship bowl.

Unknown said...

There's a place near our rented office space fort lauderdale street. I am also wondering why it's so over sensationalized. Basically, it's just noodle. I might give it a try soon, though.

Unknown said...

I wonder if a slick rail system will help in their ramen business. One thing's for sure though, a good conveyor system will make the delivery of ramen products faster.

Unknown said...

A ramen factory should have a kitchen that is energy-efficient, not just for the fuel energy but human energy as well. One that can also be nicely custom-made by shop fittings perth back home.

Sophie Tyler Neil said...

Maybe they should add the automated conveyor system, the ones that are used in Japan. In my opinion it will attract more customers because of its uniqueness. Most of the restaurants that use the system are eat all you can or buffet types of restaurants though.

Joan Lehmann said...

One of the best thing about traveling to other countries is you get to taste almost every culture. The Chinese culture is something that all people from all countries find palatable that you can always find a place that serves Chinese cuisine.

Audrey32 said...

Oh, I love ramen soooo much. So sad, I can’t cook it at home. Unfortunately, I’m too lazy for this. Cooker is my life and my love. Can offer to try too. Just watch review and carry on!

mackyton said...

Wow, it is a nice place. I wish I could visit there sometime soon for tasting ramen. Well, my birthday is coming and I would like to host an enjoyable party at some local Los Angeles venues for a Japanese dinner family party.