Ramen Hood debuts on the streets of SoHo

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Originating in the Grand Central Market of Los Angeles, Ramen Hood is a 100% vegan ramen bar that has made its way to the streets of SoHo. This popup eatery is situated in Chefs Club Counter until January 19.

At first glance, no one would assume that the chefs behind the counter use flavorful sunflower seed broth as a basis for each bowl of ramen. The menu offers a range of broth flavors, from original to smokey, and even a rice bowl option. In addition to this, each bowl comes with bean sprouts, scallions, bok choy, king oyster mushrooms, nori, and chili threads all for $12, which is an affordable option for students, especially compared to other dining locations around Manhattan.

Another item that this restaurant is renowned for is its vegan egg, of which the white and yolk of the egg are made of soy and nutritional yeast. For an additional $2, a shockingly realistic vegan egg is added to your bowl; not only does the yolk pop out of the white, but it also has a runny consistency when poked open.

Additionally, there are a number of $6 small plates, including banh mi poutine (thrice-cooked fries with hoisin gravy, pickled vegetables, sriracha, daiya cheese, jalapeños, and cilantro), ahi ‘tuna’ crisps (spicy tuna beets in a crispy rice shell with yuzu avocado puree, sesame seeds, and chili threads), and the modern American favorite, avocado toast.

Inside, the setting was a bit unexpected. While other restaurants around the city are usually bustling with crowds and long wait lines, finding seats here was an easy task.

For a total of $15.24, I ordered the spicy ramen with the vegan egg. Experiencing the broth’s richness first-hand,  I was shocked when I found out that that it was sunflower seed-based. Considering how a measly sunflower seed has little to no taste, the number of flavors that were incorporated into the broth was more than I could comprehend. The noodles had the right thickness and chewiness, with the same consistency and taste of your typical egg noodle. I also enjoyed Ramen Hood’s use of king oyster mushrooms as a vegan alternative to meat. Unlike the crispy exterior of the mushroom, the inside was soft and tender. As the name indicated, the ramen was indeed spicy, but it had just the perfect amount of spice, not too little and not too overwhelming.

While its embellishment had completed the whole look of a regular bowl of ramen, the vegan egg was a novelty I was unprepared for. The chefs behind the “vegan egg” definitely nailed the runny “yolk” concept, but upon trying it, the taste was foreign and honestly, one that was not for me. However, it was still a solid attempt at recreating that of a real egg and definitely worth the experience.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this limited-time restaurant to vegans and non-vegans alike, or to any student on a budget who is simply around the SoHo neighborhood.