Ramen has been blowing up for years now. In city's like New York and Los Angeles, there seems to be a new ramen hot spot opening every week. The dish is so popular, in fact, that David Chang, the chef credited for the dishes rising fame, declared ramen is dead in a recent piece for Lucky Peach, "That's it--you've taken noodle soup as far as you can fucking go, and now it's gotta go back to the beginning."
Like a lot of trends, the Japanese noodle dish took its time on its southern journey to Broward and Palm Beach Counties, but it's here. And it was well worth the wait. Here are the five best bowls in South Florida.
5. Cha-Cha Japanese Café (155 S. State Road 7, #108, Royal Palm Beach, 561-790-0072)
Set along the northern confines of Palm Beach County, this unsuspecting cafe serves some pretty impressive bowls of soup. Here, you'll find a superb selection of broths like salt-based shio, soy, tonkatsu, and more.
4. Masamune (310 S. Federal Highway, Deerfield Beach; 954-427-9491)
Hailed for its superb fresh fish, this Deerfield Beach place's talents don't end with the most well-known Japanese dish. It also churns out uber-authentic bowls of noodles for specials. On occasion, it serves Tokyo-style soy-flavored and northern miso ramen.
3. Gaysha (2223 Wilton Drive, Boca Raton; 954-530-0153)
This Wilton Manors Japanese eatery may concentrate in sushi (note: try the omakase), but owner Takeshi Kamioka is a master of all things Japanese -- he grew up in his parents' restaurants. He offers a mean bowl of tonkatsu on his specials board. It's chock full of flavor and warming on those chilly (50 degree) winter nights.
2. Temple Street Eatery (416 North Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 754-701-0976)
New on the Asian scene, this fast-casual spot was established by Diego Ng and the Wan family (of famed Mandarin spot Christina Wan's), Alex Kuk and his aunt and uncle Christina and Jason Huynh. While noodles aren't the main dish here, the restaurant offers a concise yet thorough selection. Miso ($11) and Shoyu ($10) noodle soup are offered with choice of ramen or soba. And the wonton noodle soup ($12) is filled with the ramen, shrimp dumpling, scallion, bok choy, and chicken broth.
1. Kapow Noodle Bar (431 Plaza Real, Boca Raton; 561-347-7322)
As you may have surmised from the name, this Mizner Park Asian joint specializes in the starchy ingredient. When developing the concept partners Scott Frielich, Rodney Mayo, and Vaughan Dugan travelled all over the country visiting ramen shops. The result: some of the most flavorful broth you'll find in the 561. For $10 to $13, slurp on options ranging from delicate chicken and shrimp to hearty pork and beef. Each one comes with the appropriate accoutrements and a perfectly soft boiled egg.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.