Ramen… I remember the very first time I had ramen that was not instant “ramen” – it was at Kintaro Ramen in Vancouver and it was pretty much a life changing experience. Every since then, I have been on the hunt for the rich, umami taste that I experienced back in Vancouver. I have had ramen-ish experiences in Edmonton but nothing that was reminiscent of that very first bowl. But I think Prairie Noodle Shop is out to change the ramen landscape in Edmonton and I, for one am 100% on board for the Edmonton Ramen revolution.
Prairie Noodle Shop has been hosting a series of pop-ups over the past year to help them develop and refine their core recipes and I have had the privilege to make it to all four pop-ups. The frenzy surrounding the pop-ups have involved all seats (100-150 bowls) being sold out in 5 minutes or less! The good news is that Prairie Noodle Shop is going to be moving to a permanent bricks and mortar location on 124 Street some time this year – the timing is dependent on when the City approves their development permits etc.
The very first bowl I had from Prairie Noodle Shop was in October of last year where they sold the bowls as a first come first serve – the line for the 8pm seating started early and was sold out by 7:45pm. Edmonton was definitely chomping on the bit to get their first taste of Prairie Noodle ramen. The initial bowl was an Alberta pork based ramen using Irvings Farm Berkshire Pork – I vaguely remember hearing something about smoking the bones outside, so they did use every part of the pig that they could. The Alberta pork ramen had a shio style broth that was made with the smoked bones, dashi and dried shrimp. The toppings with this included pork done not one, not two but three ways: char-siu style, shredded ham and shoulders, and a crispy chicharon, sweet corn and an umeboshi (Japanese salted plum) egg. For someone who doesn’t love eggs, this umeboshi egg is *almost* enough to change my mind… I just end up giving the egg yolk to one of my friends and eating the rest myself. Finally, I want to talk about one of the most important things in a good ramen, the noodles – the Prairie Noodle Shop partners did try making their own noodles, but in the end decided it was a better option to have them made fresh by a Chinese lady (who remains a secret) instead. The noodles are very good and have that delightful “bite”/chew that you want in your ramen noodles.