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Winter is No Match for Sakuramen

The restorative and soothing properties of soup cannot be overstated, particularly on a cold, winter night.  Soup warms you from the inside — something layers of clothing can’t do. And on the most basic level it’s comforting, harkening back to when you were sick as a kid and a warm bowl of soup made you feel better.

On a recent bitingly chilly night, my friend Claudia and I found the perfect antidote to the cold: a steaming bowl of ramen.

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Down the stairs into Sakuramen’s tight dining space. A table full of Asians at the front, a good sign. (It’s okay, as a fellow Asian I’m allowed to make those observations.)

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To kick things off, spicy pork buns.

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My mouth is watering as I type this. Soft, steamed buns — like baozi buns, but flat — filled with spicy pork and shredded scallion. Fold it up like a taco and eat.

Then, ramen time.

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This was the chosun, a Korean-inspired bowl of bulgogi beef, roasted kimchi, nori, scallions, egg and thin ramen noodles.

Nope, these aren’t the ramen noodles you subsisted on in college — you know, the ones you cracked in half and doused with a seasoning packet. These noodles had character and bite. Each area of the bowl was like a hidden surprise, balanced out with the flavorful broth. I settled in to a rhythm of slurp, chew, slurp, chew, until it was all gone.  I felt warm and invigorated. Cold weather? What cold weather?

The final bit of comfort, green tea mochi. Usually they’re served without accompaniments, but these came on a plate with a drizzle of chocolate, blueberries and a cookie wafer. Nice.

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To have not one, but two ramen restaurants, plus a Pho 14, so close by?  Thank you, Asian food gods.

Sakuramen
2441 18th St. NW
Washington, DC
202-656-5285

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