Our Nine Best Ramen Restaurants

Ippudo's karaka-men, spicy ramen with ground pork.
Ippudo's karaka-men, spicy ramen with ground pork.

In the port city of Yokohama, Japan, there is a large museum dedicated to ramen. There, one can learn the story of ramen's genesis between slurps of noodles and broth: Though the noodle is now practically Japan's national dish -- popular enough to support more than 200,000 ramen restaurants -- the noodles are actually Chinese in origin, and it was Chinese migrants who brought the springy wheat noodles to Japan in the early 20th century. Japanese cooks remade the noodles to their own taste, and by the 1950s, Japan was the ramen-crazy country it still is today.

Around New York, we can get the noodles in various dishes and regional styles, some traditional, like Ippudo's Hakata-style ramen, and some seemingly invented, like ZuZu Ramen's green curry ramen.

Our picks for the nine best ramen joints in New York follow -- just nine this week because that's how many places we were able to confirm as great. As always, if we missed your favorite, tell us about it in the comments.

9. ZuZu Ramen The spicy green curry broth makes this place worth a try. 173 Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-398-9898

8. Totto Ramen Notable for its long-simmered chicken broth, lighter than the usual porky stocks. Try the spicy version, which adds chile oil seasoned with garlic, onion, and dried shrimp and scallops to the mix.) 366 West 52nd Street, 212-582-0052

7. Sapporo Excellent hiyashi chuka, or cold summer ramen, with lots of garnishes and a sweet-tart cool broth. 152 West 49th Street, 212-869-8972

6. Rai Rai Ken Flavorful shoyu -- soy sauce -- broth; attractive and traditional-looking 14-seat bar. 214 East 10th Street, 212-477-7030

5. Minca Ramen Factory Deliciously porky, garlicky tonkotsu broth, springy wheat noodles, and sometimes they have "experimental ramen," which seems to mean that the cook will make you whatever he feels like. 536 East 5th Street, 212-505-8001

The top four, straight ahead ...

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