Many think of ramen as a Japanese dish and they’re technically right to do so. But, did you know ramen was adapted from a Chinese dish more than 100 years ago and that until the 1950s, it was referred to as Chinese soba? Don’t worry, you don’t have to travel far to get your fix of ramen. There are plenty of places in metro Detroit that serve delicious, piping hot bowls of the good stuff. Here are a few!
Now with three locations (Corktown, Midtown and Madison Heights), Detroit Free Press’ 2019 Restaurant of the Year packs the one-two punch of fast-casual dining and high-quality ramen noodle bowls. The menus across its three locations may vary, but you can count on quality bowls, like spicy szechuan yaki udon (pan-fried udon noodles, vegan XO sauce, baby corn, black mushroom, fresh herbs) and tori udon (bone broth, sesame chicken, soft egg, celery leaf). All locations also serve alcoholic beverages, such as beer and sake. During peak hours, customers must observe time limits for their party (as outlined on Ima’s website) and must always wear a mask when not seated at their table.
Located in Troy on Big Beaver Rd., Tomo Korean & Japanese Cuisine features a wide variety of ramen bowls and sushi platters, such as the spicy seafood ramen or the eel and cucumber roll. If seafood isn’t your thing, there are plenty of pork-based ramen options, like shoyu ramen and katsu ramen, the latter of which featured fried pork. Carryout and dine-in service is available at Tomo. If you’d like to dine in, you’ll be happy to know all staff are required to wear masks and social distancing is enforced.
Found in Detroit on Fort St. near the Detroit River, Johnny Noodle King (JNK) has only been around for a few years, but in that time it has quickly become a staple location in the city to grab a bowl of fine, Japanese-inspired noodles and more. Whether you prefer it “brothed” or “sauced” JNK has a lot of great dishes, like the seafood tom kha (coconut based chicken broth, shrimp, cod, octopus, scallion, menma, wild mushrooms, cilantro, chili paste and ramen noodles) and the New Seoul (Korean chili broth, kitchen sink kimchi, sweet braised short rib, scallion, sesame seed, sesame oil and ramen noodles). For any vegan ramen lovers, JNK features the mushroom dashi (wild mushroom, scallion, watercress, truffle oil and ramen noodles). Currently, JNK is open from 12-10 p.m. for carryout, limited patio service and socially distanced full service in the dining room. Masks, however, are required.
Ajishin in Novi has long been a favorite spot for locals looking for a warm bowl of ramen to go with the plenty of fresh seafood on offer. One of the more popular bowls is Ajishin udon, which comes with shrimp & vegetable tempura, fried tofu, boiled egg and tangle flakes. One bowl will set you back $7.50, but it’s a hefty helping and flavorful to boot! Due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, Ajishin is currently only open for carryout service.
This gem in Canton may as well call ramen its specialty. With plenty of ramen and other noodle dishes to choose from, you’ll be hard-pressed to not find something that fits your fancy. If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, the classic udon or yakisoba noodles are a great way to go. Want a little more of a punch? Try the spicy yakisoba or the curry soup. Plenty of toppings and flavorful broth will satisfy your noodle cravings. Currently, Matsu Chan is open for carryout service only.