Bassanova Ramen | Chinatown NYC, NY

(PorkBelly) Bassanova Ramen is a NYC outpost of a Tokyo based Ramen Ya. It’s been cold as hell in NYC lately + being bombarded with snow storm after snow storm I felt like ramen was the perfect thing to warm me up. Interestingly, Bassnova is in the heart of Chinatown, not typical of most Ramen shops. I wonder how they fare compared against much cheaper and larger portions of mainly Cantonese restaurants in the area in attracting customers. I was curious how this Tokyo Transplant would do in NYC so I met up my friend there.

The restaurant is subterranean
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The large glass windows make you feel like you’re not actually underground.
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There is one huge communal table in the center
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and some 2 sets on the side
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I took a seat at the bar, first thing I noticed was the extra long chopsticks…

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and large pepper mills

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They have an interesting assortment of bowls, they use some bowls with certain dishes

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I was told the bowls are imported from Japan…..

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The extra long chopsticks again, with a wood れんげ

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Sizzling Hot Iron-Pan Stick Dumplings
filling: berkshire pork, chives, chinese cabbage, garlic, scallion

First order of business was the gyoza

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Gyoza was pan fried perfected, but a bit too oily. It was still delicious, berkshire (かごしま黒豚) pork is my favorite type of hog and I’m a big fan of chives!
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the insides

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Tondaku Ramen
berkshire pork tonkotsu soup. topping with: porkloin chashu, kikurage mushroom, fried ginger onion, crushed sesame, nori, and scallion

My friend got this, the soup has incredible depth, I think anything made with berkshire pork is heaven on earth……

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This one comes with thin Sun Noodles.
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Tondaku Wadashi Green Curry Ramen
berkshire pork gonkotsu & green curry soup. topping with: grilled porkloin chashu, mixed green, shrimp, okra, red pepper

I went for their famous Green Curry Ramen, made famous from their home restaurant in Japan.. My friend tried some of the soup and was instantly jealous. I thought this would taste like a Thai soup like at Tabata, I was pleasantly surprised. The soup is a perfect blend of Ramen broth and Thai ingredients, the spiciness is just right for flavor not for effect. I could slurp this soup for days…… Oh and the Chasu is melt in your mouth goodness…..

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This came with thicker Sun Noodles. The bowl was cool, I heard people drink the broth from the more rounded edge.

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Final thoughts, Bassanova is a damn fine establishment, especially if you are in Chinatown and want non Chinese food. I definitely recommend the Green Curry Broth. The portions are on the small size, well for an average American. Luckily they are dirt cheap Chinese establishments nearby if you are still hungry. Service is prompt and attentive. I would definitely come here again to try out other items on the Menu. I’m glad establishments like this and Ivan Ramen made there way across the Ocean to NYC.

Bassanova Ramen
76 Mott St
New York, NY 10013

Bassanova Ramen on Urbanspoon

Tokyo Shabu Shabu | Monterey Park, CA Los Angeles

(PorkBelly) I know shabu shabu isn’t the most dynamic food to take pictures of, but I have to blog for our fans out there….. When I was in LA, my friend took me to his Shabu spot (funny thing, Shabu is slang for Meth Japanese, just so you know). His old spot was Jazz Cat……. Located in a shopping strip in Monterey Park in the real Chinatown area of the LA area. The restaurant is well-lit and clean with 2 bar tops with shabu stoves.

Started off with a calipo soda, i’m really addicted to this drink…..

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Egg to go with our Shabu Shabu

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Sesame Paste and Soy Sauce

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I got the Kimchi Broth while my friend got the Miso Broth

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I went for the Lamb, i’m a sucker for Lamb

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My friend went for the top sirloin

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Shot with all our stuff in the broth.

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Tokyo shabu shabu was average, not something I would go out of my way for. Service was decent, but I didn’t ask for much. After they dropped off our broth their job was pretty much done. I feel like the kimchi broth was lacking depth and flavor. I did not taste much of a kimchi flavor present. Prices are a bit high for the amount of food you receive. Some Shabu Shabu places it’s better to go there instead of eating it at home and this is not one of them….


Tokyo Shabu Shabu

Mar Center
141 N Atlantic Blvd, Ste 100B
Monterey Park, CA 91754

Tokyo Shabu Shabu on Urbanspoon

Clay Pot Cafe | Chinatown Boston, MA

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clay pot cafe is a small restaurant in chinatown that specializes 煲仔饭 ‘clay pot rice’. it’s a rice dish thats cooked in a clay pot and served with different kinds meat, vegetables, and Chinese charcuterie. the clay pot keeps the moisture and seals all the nutrients inside because it is surrounded by steam, creating a tender, flavorful dish and you also get slightly crispy bits of rice at the bottom of the pot.
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abalone, mushrooms, chinese sausage, greens with rice.

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chicken and mushroom with rice. kinda dry and lacked flavors.

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wasnt the best clay pot rice ive had entire life, but the abalone with chinese sausages one was still pretty satisfying. cash only. they were more expensive than we expected. we didnt get enough cash the first time so we had go get cash again; total came to about 50 bux for two clay pot dishes. the restaurant also serve dishes other than jus clay pot rice dishes.
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Clay Pot Cafe
74 Kneeland St
Boston, MA 02111
b/t Hudson St & Tyler St in Chinatown
Phone number (617) 357-5262
Clay Pot Cafe on Urbanspoon

Santouka Ramen| Harvard Square | Boston Cambridge, MA

(Porkbelly) Santouka finally opened up in Harvard Square!  We were lucky to have been invited to their soft opening event tonight, a few days after the most recent blizzard to hit Boston.  This is the first stand alone Santouka store in New England, and is a welcome addition to Boston’s growing Ramen scene serving their crack broth soup, oops I mean Tonkotsu…..  We were lucky to have been a part of their pop up on Newbury St. last year, check it out here.  We are very exited to be a part of the Santouka Boston Opening.

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The Restaurant is spacious and well lit.

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I like the yin yang theme

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A look into the kitchen

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I like the table setting, I’m not sure if there will keep this on the table when the store opens officially

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Workers behind the counter doing work
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My favorite part of the restaurant is the glass partition where you can see the vats of broth behind the glass

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Sneak Peak at the menu

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They were giving out Sapporo and Sake out all night…

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Their signature Tonkotsu Shio Ramen, with their signature umeboshi plum in the center. I think the Shio is their best ramen, it’s very simple, yet very complex the deeper you get into it.

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That Noodle shot

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The sake came from this…. Kagami-Biraki was performed….

The definition from the Genkeikan website….
“Kagami-biraki is a ceremony performed at celebratory events in which the lid of the sake barrel is broken open by a wooden mallet and the sake is served to everyone present….”

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Kanpai (Cheers in Japanese)!!!!

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Closing thoughts, I think Santouka Ramen in the best ramen in Boston. It is a chain, but it’s a damn good chain. Their broth cannot be beat! I hope to eat here more in the future. Thank you for having us Santouka.

Santouka Ramen
1 Bow St
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Santouka on Urbanspoon

True Aussie Lamb @ Tremont 647 |South End Boston, MA | Lamb Rack Recipe

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Today we were invited to an event hosted by True Aussie Lamb, promoting awareness for Australian lamb in the USA. Master Butcher Doug Piper was flown in from Australia to demonstrate various lamb butchering techniques. The event was hosted at Tremont 647, “Australian lamb is 100% free-range and pasture-raised. It is naturally lean, tender and nutrient rich.” Since we’re both huge fans of mutton of all types, especially on a skewer and placed over charcoal! here here here and most recently here

Boston is still in a middle of a snow storm, but we braved the storm to eat some delicious lamb!

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Tremont 647 was buzzing with activity. It looks like people didn’t let the snow stop them from eating brunch!

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From left to right, Adam, Andy Husbands Chef/Owner of Tremont 647, and Master Butcher Doug Piper

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Tremont 647 provided some of their pastries…

Sticky Buns

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Muffins

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Our victim

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Doug putting on his protective glove

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Doug Piper showing us how to properly butcher a lamb.

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here’s a short video

The end product

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Amuse:

Amuse Lamb Pastrami Rye toast, Mustard, Brussels Sprouts Krout

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Andy’s Huevos Rancheros Braised Aussie Lamb de Birria style, fried eggs, beans and rice, three salsas, & tortilla

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Croissant Breakfast Sammy House-made maple Aussie Lamb sausage, American cheese, fried egg, roasted garlic-herb pistou, & hash browns

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as a souvenir, we got a rack of lamb from aussie lamb to take home.

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my favorite ways to eat lamb are either slice the lamb really thin and eat hot pot with it or cook it with a lot of cumin. in this case, we marinated the lamb and pan-fried it.

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for the marinade, i used (from left to right): sake, oil, black pepper, salt, A LOT OF CUMIN, red pepper, maple syrup (honey), garlic salt. you can substitute or add any of your favorite spices or sauces, but cumin, alcohol, oil, and salt are the key. cumin and alcohol can really get rid of the gaminess of the lamb.

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poke the lamb with a knife so the marinade can get inside of the meat. marinate for an hour or two in the fridge, or even overnight if you’d like.

when they are ready to cook, heat oil in a pan til it gets really really hot then throw in the lamb racks.
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cook each side 3-4 mins depending how well you would like the lamb to be done. i rarely fry anything, but when i do, i want some potatoes wedges too :)
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if pan frying is too unhealthy if you, you can bake it in the oven too.
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10 mins later, lamb is ready to eat.
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you can sprinkle more cumin and red peppers if you’d like. super juicy, cumin-y, delicious.
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we also received a book from the event: from cuts to cuisine. A detailed guide book of the different cuts of lamb with recipes for each cut.
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maybe ill try some of the recipes soon!
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aussie lamb is widely available here in Eastern New England – in many different cuts from a lamb leg to chops. for more information about Australian Lamb, visit http://australian-lamb.com/Lamb/

Tremont 647 on Urbanspoon

Mission Chinese Food NY |Lower East Side NYC, NY

(Porkbelly) I decided to check out the newest outpost of Mission Chinese in NYC. The last location was closed due to a rodent infestation. It was a freezing Sunday in NYC, right before “The Biggest Snow storm to hit NYC.” I’m all about Authentic food of any cuisine, but being raised in America, there is a soft spot in my heart for Americanized Chinese food..

The new location of Mission Chinese Food is located surprisingly close to China Town. It was a Sunday night and the wait was around 1-2 hours! I was hungry and it was absolutely frigid outside, I didn’t want to go anywhere else, I thought I would try my luck at the bar. The bar is first come first serve, so you have to watch the seats like a hawk. Eventually I got a spot at the bar 30 minutes later.

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The decor of the restaurant, like their food, is a barrage of East Meets West with the East being lucky Cats, Chinese Laterns, “Asian-looking Antiques” and the West, a classic American styled big dinning hall, Chandeliers, and a Brick Pizza oven….

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View from the Bar
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Something is cooking in their Brick Oven……
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At this point I was taking pictures and waiting to be seated, a lady came up to me and asked if I “needed help” and informed me that no pictures are allowed. First thing, I don’t understand why people ask if I need help when they already have an ulterior motive. Secondly, I didn’t see anything anywhere that said pictures were not allowed, on google there is a plethora of dslr quality pictures of their food. I wonder if I was being singled out for whatever reason. With that being said, the food pictures are covertly taken from my iPhone since the said lady was hovering over me watching my every move.

Chongqing Chicken Wings

SPICY dry rubbed fried Wings, the Sichuan Peppercorn gives it that mouth numbing sensation. Spicy, Crispy, mouth numbing sensation, and even a slight hint of sweetness. My favorite dish here.

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Cumin Lamb Ribs

A slight ode to 孜然羊肉. The lamb ribs were a bit too fat for me personally. The lamb is well seasoned with good amounts of cumin but dry and is not fall-off-the-bone tender. The portion is a bit small for the price/ingredients.

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Complimentary Dumplings….

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Kung Pao Pastrami

What is supposed to be Kung Pao Pastrami, Pastrami cooked a-la Kung Pao. It was unbearably salty, I could not taste anything on the dish besides salt. I ordered a bowl of rice after a few bites and this came 15 Minutes later. The couple sitting to my right at the bar had to return one of their dishes but it was so salty the dish was inedible.

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Mission Chinese is currently one of New York City’s hottest restaurant.  Almost a 2 hour wait on a Sunday night proves that.  You cannot make reservations so waiting is done the old fashion way.   There is a bar next door where people can wait.  The dishes are hit or miss, some are too salty, while others are on point.  Pricing is on the high side for the portions, I ordered 3 dishes and it came out to be over $60 with tip.  Service was also hit or miss, my dishes came promptly, but when I requested a bowl of rice, I had to wait 15 minutes.  There is a brick oven, and I saw something like that looked like flat bread coming out of it, I would try an oven item if I ever decide to come back.

Mission Chinese
171 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002

Mission Chinese Food on Urbanspoon

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