Packaged Ramen (2008)
The point of ramen used to be its Spartan edgewickedly cheap, edible raw, unapologetically junky. In a nuclear winter, it would be the cockroaches and the ramen that survived. Improbable as it may have sounded then, the Cold War has given way to the East Village ramen wars. Our choice for the ramen crown is Ippudo, where the long-simmered broth is deliciously porky and the homemade ramen are thin, slippery, and manage to be both delicate and firm. Meanwhile, packaged ramen has evolved. To experience packaged-ramen nirvana, head to Gold City Supermarket, where theres a long aisle dedicated to nothing but multicolored plastic packs of dried noodles. There are varieties from Japan, China, Korea, and the U.S., all of it cheap as dirt, in flavors like Chinese chive, lobster-abalone, kimchi, seaweed, chicken curry, and artificial spicy pork.