Deconstructing ramen

ramen bowl spoon chopsticks

Asian noodle soups are a popular lunch option at YouTube’s San Bruno, Calif., campus, says Trent Page, the GM at Bon Appetit Management who runs the company’s three corporate dining venues. But Page noticed an increasing preference for customizable dishes and vegan preparations among the 1,000 customers he feeds daily. Inspired by a recent visit to Japan, he introduced tsukemen to the menu—a dish that features most of the traditional ramen ingredients (noodles, eggs and vegetable garnishes) served separately so diners can mix and match. “Separating the components makes it more customizable and adaptable to people with allergies or dietary preferences,” he says. Each diner then takes a bowl of noodles, adds a walnut-miso sauce instead of broth and spoons on the desired garnishes.

deconstructed ramen chart

  1. Ramen broth is typically made by simmering meat bones for many hours, says Page. The vegan broth he makes—a combination of water, kombu (dried kelp strips) and shiitake mushrooms—not only fits every diet, but it’s also ready in just 15 minutes.
  2. To create the sauce, Page purees toasted walnuts with red miso paste, soy sauce and enough of the broth until it emulsifies and turns creamy but doesn’t get too thick. “The miso provides umami flavor that the walnuts accentuate,” says Page. “Plus the nuts add body and richness, acting as a substitute for meat.”
  3. In building the tsukemen, customers start with soba, udon or egg noodles and add the sauce, which clings to the noodles more effectively than a ramen broth. Poached eggs, scallions, Japanese seaweed, pickled radishes, sesame seeds and other toppings are available to customize the dish—as well as cooked pork and chicken for the meat eaters. 

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
food symbols allergens

To make safe food as accessible as possible for our guests with allergies, we are creating an allergen-friendly kitchen this summer. Students and community members will be able to use our mobile app to place orders for allergen-friendly food and pick them up at the central kitchen. The kitchen will also produce grab-and-go options that will be distributed across campus.

Ideas and Innovation
construction plans drawing tools calculator

When revamping an old cafeteria or building a new retail spot, the design process can feel like fitting together the pieces of a puzzle: What needs to fit in the space, and what’s the most efficient flow for staffers, cooks, diners and more?

Cathy Estes, administrative director of nutrition services at four northern Indiana hospitals that are part of the Franciscan Health network, faced the creation of a new in-house dining program at Franciscan’s Munster hospital. Amid all the big plans, design was one of the largest undertakings.

“I was looking at 5,000 square feet on a...

Ideas and Innovation
amazon prime delivery

About 90% of our students receive financial assistance and participate in our free and reduced-price meal program. But a number of students in our district study remotely due to circumstances such as chronic illness. In January, we hired a driver to deliver meals to students who aren’t able to step into our cafeteria each day.

Ideas and Innovation
wheaton emerson int salad bar

Restaurant design is all about catching a customer’s eye —and it’s sometimes particularly beneficial to be far-sighted. As Airbnb has proven with its San Francisco headquarters, where cafe spaces are inspired by cities like Cairo and Mumbai, elaborate design schemes that evoke far-flung geographic regions can be done to great effect. But operators are finding simpler ways to achieve that feel.

That’s been the experience of Kutztown University Dining Services in Pennsylvania. Kent Dahlquist, director of housing and dining services, says that when the university decided several years...

FSD Resources