If you’ve ever walked around the Verizon Center on a weeknight, you’ve likely noticed the crowd of people waiting for a table at Daikaya. The ramen shop doesn’t take reservations, so the wait can run as long as three hours on a busy night. I’ve embraced the wait before to no avail, so when I heard that Daikaya was putting on Sapporo ramen 101 classes, I jumped at the chance.
If you’re a connoisseur of the ramen scene in D.C., you’ve noticed that there are some major differences from restaurant to restaurant. That’s because there are approximately 32 different regional types of ramen in Japan, all of which are generally classified as “ramen” here in the States. Sapporo is one of the three major types.
Saturday morning we joined four other couples around the bar to listen to business partners Daisuke Utagawa and Chef Katsuya Fukushima explain how they make Sapporo ramen at Daikaya.
They went through the process, step by step, explaining the four main characteristics of ramen: the stock, the tare (flavoring), the noodles, and aromatic oil. You will be amazed at the passion and time it takes to perfect a recipe. I never knew just how much I didn’t know about this humble bowl of soup. I don’t want to ruin the learning experience for you, so I’ll just leave you with this valuable advice: how to properly eat ramen.
Daisuke says the most important thing is to “show appreciation for the people who made it, and eat it fast.” Don’t wait for everyone at your table to be served. By then, the noodles might be soggy and it will have cooled. When your ramen arrives, take a deep breath and a sip of broth. Then, using your chopsticks, pull out noodles and smell the aroma. You can tell alot about your meal by these first sniffs. Some recommend eating around the pork at first, as you wait for it to warm up. You should be slurping the noodles, with your face down above the bowl. It may not be very ladylike, but I’ll be damned if it’s not delicious.
The team behind Daikaya are opening two new ramen shops soon. One in the Atlantic Plumbing Building focused on Paitan broth, with new tares and the other at the old Gallery Place Burger King location around the corner, focused on chicken ramen. I can’t wait to try them both!
Tickets for Sapporo Ramen 101 demonstrations are a steal at $28 each. Your ticket guarantees a bowl of ramen, the presentation, and a goodie bag to take home. It makes for a great day date. Demonstrations are offered on select weekends, so keep an eye on social media, or call to reserve your spot.
705 6th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001