Ivan Ramen

For today’s Travel Tuesday, I am taking you to New York City and Ivan Ramen. Located at Gotham West Market, which is like a food court but with eight really really nice food booth restaurants, in Hell’s Kitchen, Ivan Ramen is the brainchild of Tokyo Ramen Master Ivan Orkin. If you’re thinking that does not sound Japanese at all, you’re right. He’s an American, but lives in Japan (it seems he fell in love with Japan when he went there to teach English in the 80s and has never looked back). He even has a ramen joint there in Japan- and the only place to get his ramen outside Tokyo is in New York, at one of two locations. One of them is the Slurp Shop here at Gotham West Market.

Gotham West Market, New York

I was fascinated by the idea of a foreigner being able to break into the food scene in Tokyo, particularly with something as beloved as ramen. Ramen can differ by region – and in fact there are even Ramen Museums. Yes, entire museums… and more than one museum. You can also take a bath in ramen. I don’t really have anything to say about that, if only you could see my face when reading that article though… anyway.

So in New York, off I went to Ivan Ramen. I had been eating a progressive meal every day I was in New York, and honestly was about to go to dinner at Todd English Food Hall after this stop (and I had eaten earlier at Chelsea Market), so I told myself I would only eat half the bowl. But… yeah I ate the whole thing. The kitchen was pretty busy when I arrived, with most of the seats taken at the tables and bar countertop. Thankfully, shortly after I ordered at the register, some bar seats opened and I had a chance to carefully study the Art of the Slurp illustrated at the countertop of Ivan Ramen.
The bustling kitchen of Ivan Ramen at Gotham West Market Instructions of The Art of the Slurp from Ivan Ramen in Gotham West Market

This is the famous Spicy Red Chili Ramen with minced pork, scallions, smashed egg, fully loaded with egg, extra pork and roast tomato.
Spicy Red Chili Ramen with minced pork, scallions, smashed egg, fully loaded with egg, extra pork and roast tomato. Ivan Ramen, Gotham West Market, New York

I was not shy about adding all the garlic oil in the container. Look at how beautifully cut those scallions are. What makes Ivan’s ramen different than most you might try in the US is that he does a double soup, where they combine two broths to create a balance of flavors in the ramen bowl.
Spicy Red Chili Ramen with minced pork, scallions, smashed egg, fully loaded with egg, extra pork and roast tomato. Ivan Ramen, Gotham West Market, New York Spicy Red Chili Ramen with minced pork, scallions, smashed egg, fully loaded with egg, extra pork and roast tomato. Ivan Ramen, Gotham West Market, New York

If you visit Ivan Ramen, rest assured that he has vegetarian ramen available from his menu of about half a dozen noodle options. The only thing you should definitely be aware of is that the ramen is not cheap – it starts at $13, not counting any add ons or making it fully loaded like I did. As with all ramen, it’s always good to eat it relatively quickly because you don’t want the noodles to get too soggy as it absorbs the broth. I also recommend grabbing a glass of water for yourself – often just drinking the broth is enough for me, but it was a bit on the salty side for me so I needed the water as well.

Besides ramen, there are also rice bowls at Ivan Ramen NYC Slurp Shop, and most intriguing, a breakfast menu and a brunch menu involving scrambled eggs and breakfast buns (Japanese breakfast sausage, scallion omelet, yuzu hollandaise) or sweet silken tofu and more! Check out the Slurp Shop menu!

I leave this Travel Tuesday post with some great advice from Gotham West Market:
Gotham West Market advice: Sleep Til You're Hungry, Eat Til You're Sleepy

If you wish you could taste the creations of Ivan… there actually is an opportunity coming up in Portland on Saturday, June 13. As part of the Salt Fire Water series presented by Williams-Sonoma Open Kitchen, with Ingredient Sponsor New Seasons Market at the Jacobsen Salt Co.’s headquarters and event space, Chef Earl Ninsom of Lang Baan and Chef Ivan Orkin of Ivan Ramen are working together to create a special dinner. The cost of the dinner is $135 ticket and includes five courses, four glasses of the featured wines, producer/chef discussions, and the ability to purchase special product, books, etc. at event.

Only 50 seats are available…. and I am going to be in one of those seats! Of course I’ll share the recap after the dinner if you want to vicariously live through me. The IVAN RAMEN + LANG BAAN – Jacobsen Salt Co.’s SALT FIRE WATER tickets seem to be sold out (no surprise here since Earl Ninsom’s Lang Baan is basically sold out until November, and Ivan Orkin usually spends his time either in Tokyo or New York where his restaurants are so it’s a big deal for him to be in Portland cooking for us), but you can check out more SALT FIRE WATER events here at Eventbrite.

Are you a big fan of ramen? Would you go to a Ramen Museum (I am contemplating visiting one on a future visit to Japan)? What food would you like to see be a museum here in the US?
Have you seen the movie that celebrates the artistry and deliciousness of ramen, Tampopo? It’s one of my top food movies!



  1. I wish I had known about this before I went to New York! It sounds amazing!

  2. The ramen looks so lovely! And the sign totally cracked me up.

  3. Ramen is a favorite of mine! I’m so bummed I didn’t know about Ivan Ramen when my husband and I were in New York in October. Guess we’ll just have to go back as soon as possible 😉 Cheers!

  4. Ok 1) That ramen looks delicious. I’ve not seen roasted tomato in ramen but I love the idea. Man, you are going to eat well and love every minute of it in Japan! 🙂
    2) I love the way you travel. Progressive meals all the way!
    3) I am SO jealous you’re going to that dinner! You are going to have the best time. I can’t wait to follow along via Instagram/your blog!

  5. I unabashedly love ramen, and I’ll definitely have to come here the next time I’m in New York. Love that they offer vegetarian broths, too!

  6. That ramen looks so good….I would not have believed you were human if you were able to only eat half of it!

  7. There are some great documentaries on Ramen on Ramen Chefs on Netflix, thanks for rounding out my knowledge with a first hand account.

  8. Wow, this post made me hungry for ramen, even though I just finished dinner. I’m not so sure about bathing in ramen… But thank you for adding to the list of places to eat next time I go to NYC!

  9. I do love a good bowl of ramen. I will be living vicariously through you since the Salt Fire Water event is not in our budget. 😉 But where else would you recommend to enjoy a good bowl of ramen in the Portland area?

    • My recommendations are Boke Bowl (they have 2 locations) for inauthentic but super tasty ramen, but for more traditional I like Mirakutei, Shigezo, and there is a food cart pod called Tidbit that has a ramen cart called Hapa. More recently there has recently opened new ramen place Noraneko, or if you are in the suburbs Kukai is opening soon in Beaverton

  10. that looks amazing!

  11. Its no surprise that I love this post! I havent ever seen the tomato in ramen either! What an interesting addition.

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