BEST CHEAP LUNCH - 2006
Readers' Choice: Spicy Pickle
In Japan, ramen is a proper meal, eaten sitting down or standing up, on the street and in regular ramen restaurants decorated with big-eyed laughing cartoon children and Day-Glo pandas. More than soba, more than udon, the humble ramen noodle is Japan's most culturally identifiable food -- its Big Mac, its mac-and-cheese. And here in Denver, we're lucky to have the sole American outpost of Oshima Ramen, one of Japan's well-known ramen franchises. The two basic broths -- a blond soy shoyu and a coffee-dark and cloudy miso -- are made every day with fresh pork bone, chicken and bonito stock, the fresh noodles are rolled and cut every morning, and every bowl is made to order. Factor in ingredients imported from Japanese markets, and about twenty soups are available -- everything from a simple Original Ramen to a veggie, tofu and bamboo-shoot ramen, to a seafood ramen, to a double-up super original Oshima Ramen with chaisu, boiled egg and corn. And for an extra two bucks, a plate of "tasty chicken bits" will add a little muscle to any soup in the joint.