Ramen Rave

Where is the perfect pizza, fried chicken or cupcake? New York is a city that seems obsessed with the best this and best that.

One of latest food crazes: ramen.

I love ramen - fancy or not. I don't care if it's the variety college student subsist on (although I'll admit I'll gussy it up with a poached egg, frozen peas and corn, sometimes leftover chicken and even dumplings) or $13 bowls of piping noodles bathed in a hot miso-based broth.

Ramen shops, mostly of Japanese origin, are popping up everywhere in the city these days. You can't seem to go a week without hearing about the latest ramen shop to try out.

During my lunch hour today I stopped at Sapporo in Midtown. It was packed and the line was out the door. Luckily I didn't have to wait too long before snagging a table and ordering a hearty bowl of ramen speckled with spicy ground pork, thinly-cut fish cakes and moist slices of roasted pork.

I've eaten at too many ramen shops in New York in the past five years to remember them all. But the standout has to be Ippudo, a Japanese chain that opened an outlet in New York in the past year. The various broths remind me of our consomme lessons at school: well-seasoned, proper temperature, clear and not greasy.

I think my love of any noodle soup stems from my mother's pho, a classic Vietnamese beef noodle soup. I can't find anything comparable to it in New York. I guess that means I'll be eating more ramen.