Cho77 opened for business a month ago, serving authentic Asian street food with a modern twist. Chefs Lon Symensma and Ryan Gorby knew their bacon, egg, and cheese ramen would be a popular item right out of the gate.
"Right now, it's competing for our number one spot with the wonton noodles with barbecue pork belly. Usually the ramen sells more though," says Gorby. He explained that the concept of the dish actually originated at ChoLon, where last year they were offering noodle bowl specials for lunch. "We always had the rinds of parmesan cheese blocks laying around and I remember wanting to use them in a broth. We made it and then thought it would be funny and whimsical to put bacon and eggs with it for a ramen dish."
The base of the dish is a tonkotsu (pork-based) broth, which differs from other traditional ramen broths because it boils for 12 hours rather than simmering. This boiling emulsifies the oils and fats resulting in a creamier broth. At Cho77, the chefs char scallions, onions, and garlic and then boil that with pig neck bones and trotters, chicken stock, sake, parmesan cheese and rinds, ginger, bonito, and of course, more bacon.
While the broth boils, they bake miso-soaked bacon strips in a 161 degree oven for the same 12 hours. Those strips are a welcome garnish to the dish when it is served.
Simple wheat noodles, a gently poached egg, more parmesan cheese and scallions, and teriyaki mushrooms swim in the broth. "The mushrooms are my favorite part because it's an unexpected refreshing bite," says Gorby.
The bacon may be what attracts people to order it, but it's the components working together that keep people coming back for more.