Yōkoso! (Welcome!)

An enthusiastic ramen shop promotion in the Kaito-ku section of Ueno in Tokyo.

Merriam-Webster says a gourmand is someone “excessively fond of eating and drinking.” A gourmet is “a connoisseur of food and drink.”

So into which category do ramen lovers fall? We’d have to say somewhere in the middle. Ramen, leaving the instant kind aside, is a very basic pedestrian dish in Japan. However when you consider the care and time that goes into the broth, for example, and how certain chefs have elevated a bowl to the level of fine dining, gourmet isn’t far off.

How thin, or thick, did this restaurant slice the chashu? Did it have a char? Does the richness and complexity of the broth have staying power throughout the meal? Do the noodles go beyond good enough to having a texture, flavor and mouth feel that make them special? These are the kind of distinctions and conversations we tend to have about ramen. 

So three friends thought we’d form our own club, first as a joke. Then it got a bit more serious. Inspired by Ramen Adventures and others who write or make videos, we decided to add our voices to the conversation. 

Yes, the “club” is just the three of us. We live near San Francisco. No rules or dues in this club. Not sure how often we’ll post, and topics may vary beyond just reviews. At some point, we may open up to comments or guest posts. Let’s see how it all evolves. Welcome.