Zen Box Izakaya brings worldly inspiration to ramen

Special ramen
Special ramen
John Ng

The Ramen Attacks lines were epic. By some accounts, people waited, with varying degrees of patience, for over four hours to get a bowl of those coveted noodles.

At Zen Box Izakaya the winter wait time has been reduced drastically. Chef and owner John Ng just returned from a culinary tour of Japan along with his wife and front-of-house manager, Lina Goh. The two were inspired by all the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes, and this weekend, Ng will share some of those flavors with ramen fans at his restaurant.

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This weekend's special ramen ($13.50) will be 

Aigamo Shio Ramen, otherwise known as Roasted Duck Salted Ramen. It's made with Chinese-style roasted duck glazed with honey and ume plum, enoki Mushrooms, baby mizuna (Japanese mustard greens), scallions,
shio chicken broth with dashi flavor,aji tamago (marinated soft boiled eggs), and fresh ramen noodles. As you dip your face into the bowl, your nose fills with an aromatic lemon and garlic-infused oil.

We asked Ng to tell us where he found the inspiration for this very special bowl of broth and noodles. "We were in Nagoya, Japan. Their most famous ramen was called 'Taiwan Ramen' and they were using shio chicken broth." He went on to explain, "For this weekend's ramen, I was trying to introduce the shio chicken broth flavor, and Chinese-style roast duck. I added my own twist of the lemon garlic aroma oil, honey and plum flavor for the duck, and the combination is my original style."

Zen Box Izakaya plans to feature a different special every Friday and Saturday, drawing on the inspiration from the different regional variations of traditional dishes throughout Japan, all with Ng's own special twist. 

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Zen Box Izakaya

602 Washington Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455


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