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There are only two ways to eat ramen, in my opinion.
The first is to eat the most authentic ramen you can wherever you are. I’m talking a broth that has been on a rolling boil for days. I’m talking springy ramen noodles swimming in that broth accompanied by tender slices of chashu pork and a marinated soft boiled egg with a velveteen yolk. I’m talking sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with other diners in a tiny restaurant dedicated to making this exact type of ramen, because that’s how you know they’re really, really good at it.
The other way to eat ramen is to go in completely the opposite direction, which is to be so irreverent it borders on disrespect. Ramen aficianados, look away now. I adore an instant ramen. Better yet, I love zhushing up an instant ramen with the addition of whatever vegetables you like (I find frozen mixed vegetables or peas work best) and an egg. Even better, slap a slice of the yellowest, most processed burger cheese you can find on that bad boy.
My husband, upon hearing me suggest he put a slice of cheese on his instant noodles for the first time, threatened to leave the house. Hear me out, please. Putting a slice of burger cheese on top of a hot bowl of instant noodles – it doesn’t even have to be ramen – is an act of genius. It’s also really common. Korean cheese ramen is a widespread comfort food, and in some parts of Japan such as Hokkaido, butter and cheese shio ramen is a popular dish.
I’ve now come across a third way to eat ramen, one that sits quite comfortably in the middle of this spectrum. It comes in the form of Supa Ya, a cult favourite ramen restaurant that first opened in Dalston and has now spread into a new branch in Peckham. Supa Ya began life as a supperclub by ex-Nopi chef Luke Findlay. He then opened a pop-up, before deciding on its first permanent location in Dalston in…