The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Minca: Land of Delicious Ramen and Pork

[Preamble: I'm going to try this newfangled thing where I write entries that you can actually finish reading in less time than it takes the Earth to complete one rotation. Let's see how this works.]

"I hate you."

When Tristan says he hates me—an expression he uses about once every three days—he doesn't really mean it. He only hates me when I make him do things he wouldn't normally do, hurling him into a slippery vortex of sin lined with poisoned spikes of regret.

Minca ramen in pork broth

The agent of his hatred was the fatty pork that came with our bowls of ramen at Minca. While I'm totally cool with knocking back a few slices of the sweet, tender pork blanketed by a layer of rich swinely fat, Tristan—who follows a roughly 99% vegetarian diet, the missing 1% mostly being my fault—is less accustomed to such atherosclerosis-causing hedonism.

Which is fine. Actually, it might be better so that when he does take that plunge into porky heaven, the experience is something that leaves a deep canyon-like impression on his taste buds. My taste buds are probably like, "Oh, it's pork again? Well. Alright." While I can't claim to know exactly what Tristan's taste buds said, I would guess something more along the lines of what you may hear in the heat of a football game, like, "HOLY SHIT YEAH, BRING IT ON!" This delicate string of words would be communicated thought a series of electrical impulses to the brain. Possibly. My biology is rusty.

So, if you haven't figured it out yet, the reason that Tristan hated me was because I introduced him to pork so delicious that it demanded to be eaten in a quantity higher than what he would deem acceptable under normal conditions. My bad.

But we know that Minca does not fall under "normal conditions." Minca is for the strong, for the stomach that craves a seemingly bottomless mass of firm noodles bathed in salty, collagen-rich broth made even more delicious by the aforementioned fatty pork, half of a soy sauce-soaked hard boiled egg, black mushrooms, bamboo shoots, a sheet of nori, and a sprinkling of raw chopped scallions. You've got your meat, your wheat, your fungus, your meager amount of vegetable matter, your generous dose of MSG—don't let anyone tell you that this isn't a balanced meal.

spicy ramen
Oo, spicy

While I went with the basic Minca ramen in pork broth, Tristan craved the pain of the spicy ramen. It was similar to my ramen—noodles, pork, etc.—but replaced scallions with a few fistfuls of corn and soybean sprouts. Oh, and the broth was spicy.

Taken by Tristan

This is how I prepare for monching.

ready to take a bite

This is how Tristan prepares for monching.

While I do not have an end-of-the-meal shot, I assure you we did a good job of ingesting most of the contents of our bowls despite that those contents most definitely exceeded the daily recommended intake of ramen and meat juice. My stomach was probably all distended and wobbly. Which, according to no one, is the true mark of today's refined woman. And probably why no one loves me.

shrimp gyoza
shrimp gyoza close up

At Tristan's request, we had also polished off an order of shrimp gyoza as an appetizer. I was expecting dumplings filled with some kind of ground up shrimpy mass, but each dumpling was actually a shrimp wrapped in dough and...other stuff of flavor-giving properties. The skins fell apart a little too easily, but I otherwise have no complaints. They're different from your regular gyoza and worth giving a try. Think "pigs in a blanket," but "shrimp in a gyoza wrapper," a name that isn't nearly as endearing nor linguistically pleasing.

By the way, in case I forgot to mention it, I love Minca—it's my favorite ramen shop in NYC. That doesn't necessarily mean it's the best, but that the combination of noodly mountain, fatty pork, salty both, and price gives it an "A++ WOULD DO BUSINESS WITH AGAIN" in my book.


536 E 5th St
New York, NY 10009


Reena / March 11, 2008 9:04 AM

Ohh delicious pork! You definitely should try pork rinds with pork fat! I hate ramen for me it just taste like salt! And its to heavy on the belly.. I prefer rice. But I do like the tempura ramen which tastes sweet and salty and sour at the same time.. What do you prefer sweet or salty? I want to make a recipe you know... deep fudge brownies with pork fat and skin! I can even imagine the taste already! MMMMMmmm. Can you?

Su-Lin / March 11, 2008 11:44 AM

Oh, I'm all for new ways to eat pork (my all time favourite meat in the world ever ever). I wonder why corn goes into spicy soup while scallions go into regular soup. Strange.

soopling / March 11, 2008 1:34 PM

"My stomach was probably all distended and wobbly. Which, according to no one, is the true mark of today's refined woman. And probably why no one loves me."

Sorry, but that just totally made me giggle.

Christina / March 11, 2008 1:43 PM

Sadly, the only ramen I know of comes in the bag that takes 5 minutes to make. I still crave it in all of its MSG glory! (And unlike the noodles in your ramen, I always broke up mine into tiny pieces because I hadn't thought of using chopsticks, which meant the long strands would fall from the spoon and not into my mouth.)

janet / March 11, 2008 3:33 PM

it's like roboppy tapas style! or banchan style? huM. I like the short form but I also like the late night long ramblies too. But then, as we've gone over, the sleeps are important! I've only been to Minca once and I got something too salty :( .. I'd like to try Setagaya though!

leeann / March 11, 2008 3:57 PM

okay, those are the best looking damn gyoza i have ever seen. a whole shrimp?! who would have thought? i love it.

wonders / March 11, 2008 4:20 PM

OMG that looks so yummy!!!! It's on E. 5th street and where? I've only been to momofuku and they've sinced changed it to momofuku ko..-=( But I would definately loveee to try Minca out!

roboppy / March 11, 2008 5:14 PM

Reena: I actually bought pork rinds a while ago (I should post about that!) and it did something weird to my stomach. Like..sucked out all my moisture. I dunno! Weird. But it was tasty, until I felt like my stomach had dried up.

As for brownies with pork and whatnot..that...that might work? It also frightens me just a bit. ;)

Santos: YAY!

Olivia: But I loves the salt!

Su-Lin: I dunno. I wouldn't had minded corn and sprouts in my soup. Warh.

soopling: I try to make the giggles. At least, that's a much better response than disgust and pity.

Christina: Oh yes, that sounds like the ramen of my youth. I ate a lot of instant ramen in Taiwan. Siiigh.



This was a combination of late night rambling and shortness. I should write ALL my entries..after midnight...wait, no, this is why I don't get enough sleep.

SALT SALT BUT I LOVE SALT! I liked Setagaya too, but not as much. :(

Leeann: I'm surprised I haven't seen it before!

wonders: It's between Aves A and B, a bit out there. I liked Momofuku also, but it's more expensive. And Ko...I doubt I'll ever get to go there. :\

vince / March 11, 2008 8:41 PM

ahhh pork. from the greatest rulers to the lowliest serfs, who doesn't enjoy sweet succulent swine? (excluding roughly half the world and your friend tristan) Just the word brings comfort in my soul, and rumblings in my belly.

Cacao / March 11, 2008 8:44 PM

I've only been to Minca once. The broth I picked was a bit too salty for my taste buds, but everything else, including the pork was very tasty. While I was waiting to be seated, I noticed almost every table ordered a bowl of daikon salad. Although I was never fond of daikon, I decided to give it a try. The verdict: it's out of this world! Never thought daikon could be this delicious.

Steph / March 11, 2008 10:53 PM

Oh, my dear Ro -- you must've typed this in a MSG-induced haze, not realizing that WE HEART YOU! Ain't nothing wrong with a little wobble.

Oh, and I'm totally loving the gigantic pile of scallions in your ramen. I LOVE SCALLIONS. Ramen + Scallions + Goodies = LOVE

- S

roboppy / March 12, 2008 12:29 AM

Vince: Oh, Tristan enjoys it, but he is more wary of it's unhealth-giving properties than I am...:)

But you only live once, right? So I make soul-comforting fat a part of that life. Woo.

Cacao: Oh, I didn't notice the daikon salad! Or rather the idea of eating salad with my ramen never crossed my mind. ;) Thanks for the rec, I'll try it next time!

Steph: I am usually in an MSG-induced haze. THIS IS WHY MY LIFE IS AWESOME!!!


I loves the scallions too. Scallions..and corn...can they both appear in a bowl of ramen? CAN THEY?!

Julie / March 12, 2008 11:15 AM

Short, long, I dig it all.

That Ramen looks AWEMAZING (I love this word in all capitals). This ain't your cellophaned Ramen!

Also, I know what you mean about a favorite place not necessarily having the best food! I have those, too.

roboppy / March 12, 2008 10:39 PM

Julie: I like the use of AWEMAZING. I will try to incorporate it into my daily language, although that might confuse people who think I am just accidentally mixing up two words. Doh.

Colleen / March 12, 2008 10:49 PM

Ro (as I see you are called by at least one),

How fantastic that I found you! Your writing style is so entertaining, I hardly noticed that I hadn't heard of the vast majority of foods you were talking about.

I guess that might be because I'm on the other end of the food spectrum... the farming end. Being in an area rural enough to produce food sometimes means you're limited in the types of food you can experience. I'm making notes, though, for my next trip to Toronto so I know what type of restaurants I want to try out and what to order. Your dining experience sounded worth imitating.

joanh / March 14, 2008 1:13 PM

omg. yum. makes me want to have ramen right now and it's 113am in taipei. maybe tomorrow.. found a couple good places (filtered out some bad ones)...

roboppy / March 14, 2008 3:41 PM

Colleen: Whoa, I've never had a farmer read my blog before! far as I know. I'm looking over your site now and it's awesome. I've always wondered what it's like to work on a farm, although I get the impression that I would pass out after a few hours. My body is used to sitting, mostly. :( But if you ever need a helping hand...uh..I HAVE TWO OF EM!

Michelle: Dare I ask what happens if you combined all those food groups? ....A bomb of deliciousness?

joanh: I think the only ramen I at in Taipei was the instant stuff from a styrofoam bowl. SO SAD! :(

James / March 14, 2008 4:08 PM

The quality of noodle is a cut above Momofuku, a more famous neighborhood ramen joint. The pieces of pork may look tasting, however, most of the time they were cold(a sacreligious). One should compare it with Ramen Setagaya's pork - just a few blocks away - where each piece is freshly grilled after you order you noodle.

Colleen / March 14, 2008 10:15 PM

Well, it's nice to be first in line for something. If you're ever in the area ;) your two hands would be welcome. We love having 'eaters' come see what we're up to on the farm. Right now we have a riot of spunky new spring lambs racing around. Very fun if you're up for finding your food 'cute'.

Thanks for checking out our farm site, Ro.

roboppy / March 16, 2008 11:27 AM

James: Ooh, I've only been to Setagaya once; I should try it again.

Colleen: LAMBS OMG YES I can imitate them! Tristan has sheepies and I'm all like, "BaaAAA AAHHAHAHA"...

...Okay I don't blame you if you don't want me to come to your farm anymre. I UNDERSTAND.

bev / March 16, 2008 2:48 PM

This entry is MADE OF AWESOME! I must try this ramen place soon. I am a sucker for PILES OF SCALLIONS on my ramen. Oh man.

roboppy / March 17, 2008 5:04 PM

Bev: I hope you like it! I only recommend things that are made of awesome!

Morten: When you visit NYC we shall go ramen hunting!!

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