By Priya Konings
As the temperature outside cools down, the temperature of your food needs to rise, and what’s warmer than a bowl of steaming ramen? And for all the times that vegetarians get left out of food guides and restaurant reviews, this one is for you: a list of the best vegetarian ramen in the city. Go forth and get your noodle on!
DAIKAYA: So when you eat Daikaya’s veggie ramen you can’t help but wonder: what makes it so damn good? Maybe it’s the shio broth, a warm, savory and almost creamy broth that is finished in the wok to give it extra flavor. Or maybe it’s the lovely, curly ramen noodles, imported straight from Sapporo, Japan. Or maybe it’s the medley of vegetables in the ramen: carrots, onions, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, and a pile of crunchy bean sprouts. By the time you get to the bottom of the bowl, you will have decided it doesn’t matter why it’s so good, you are just so glad you got to slurp it down.
SAKURAMEN: The vegetarian ramen at Sakuramen is unlike any other in the city, and one of the most delicious. The kombu broth is a seaweed broth that has a great, robust, almost meaty flavor. The sweet corn, green onions, menma (bamboo shoots), and hearty mushrooms are the perfect vegetables for the broth, as is the pile of perfectly made ramen noodles. Vegetarians can also enjoy their soy-marinated mushroom buns, which are seriously awesome.
TOKI UNDERGROUND: The ramen at Toki Underground is Taiwanese ramen, markedly different than the ramen at Daikaya, which is specifically Japanese ramen. Equally as good, the Taiwanese ramen is made with a silky, smooth broth and combined with pickled cucumber, daikon, scallions, mushrooms, ramen noodles and, best of all, fried tofu. It is warm and soulful and utterly satisfying. But save room for their made-to-order chocolate chip cookies, which are warm, gooey, and equally as irresistible as the ramen.
REN’S RAMEN: It may be out of the way (it’s in Wheaton) but it is worth the trip. This hole-in-the-wall does not have the charm of the other spots in DC, but it does have damn good ramen. The light, flavorful broth is a shio broth, which like Daikaya’s is a salt-flavored seaweed broth. Piled high with onions, seaweed, cabbage, scallions, carrots, and bean sprouts, it is texturally fantastic. The noodles come from Sapporo, Japan and are aged to perfection.
OKI BOWL DC: Spicy and dense is the best way to describe the ramen at DC’s newest ramen spot, where the vegetarian ramen is made with kimchi, nori, scallions, tofu, and of course a heap of ramen noodles. Choose from additional toppings like mushrooms and corn.