Category Archives: Food Bucket List

Tsukushinbo, Seattle, WA

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Seattle, WA
What you’re getting: Old-school shoyu ramen
Six days a week, Tsukushinbo serves up some of the best sushi in Seattle, and on the seventh day they do the opposite of rest — they ladle out perhaps the hardest-to-get ramen on this list. The broth of their old-school shoyu ramen takes four days to make, so they can only cook enough to feed a few dozen hungry fanatics on Friday afternoons. Wash it down with a side of crispy gyoza dumplings. – Thrillist

Bassanova Ramen, New York, NY

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New York, NY
What you’re getting: Tondaku Green Curry
The second-generation Japanese-American chef at Bassanova was such a ramen geek that he made a pilgrimage to Japan to learn the craft, only to return to the States to post up in NYC’s Chinatown and supply the Big Apple’s noodle-fiends with one of the country’s most unique slurpables: the Tondaku Green Curry, a fiery Thai-inspired broth that’s simmered for 12 hours — and makes the perfect complement to caramelized slices of Berkshire pork. – Thrillist

Biwa, Portland, OR

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Portland, OR
What you’re getting: House hybrid ramen broth with smoked pork shoulder
It’s easy to look past Biwa with Portland’s wealth of ramen options. And also because they don’t have a sign. But after seven years, the city’s trailblazing ramen-ya is still ladling out the best ramen in town from the basement of an old church. The hybrid pork/chicken/tare broth is a solid defense against Portland’s relentlessly grey climate, and a ton of other izakaya and sushi options have you covered in the warmer months. – Thrillist

Chuko, Brooklyn, NY

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Brooklyn, NY
What you’re getting: Kimchi ramen
Ippudo and Momofuku might’ve started NYC’s ramen craze, but Chuko is one of a new class of slurpers that deserves serious praise. The brainchild of three Morimoto expats, this austere Prospect Heights noodle nook has been slinging some of the city’s best ramen since their opening in 2011. The veggie broth is surprisingly flavorful thanks to a healthy dose of natural MSG via seaweed, but the kimchi is the standout. For dessert, walk down the block to one of the 21 best ice cream shops in the nation, Ample Hills. – Thrillist

Daikokuya, Los Angeles, CA


tmg-slideshow_xl (2)What you’re getting: Tonkotsu ramen
Daikokuya is perhaps LA’s most beloved ramen shop — there’s a line outside the nondescript Little Tokyo door most times of most days. Neophyte competitors have come in and made LA a ramen town, but this OG stands tall, thanks to a slow-cooked tonkotsu broth that somehow still manages to be silky rather than over-rich, and a rustic, traditional feel that transports you to Japan from the moment your name is called and you sit down at the ramen bar, feeling the steamy heat and getting ready to open your mouth — and your veins — to classic, salty goodness. – Thrillist


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What you’re getting: Tsukemen
This LA institution consistently takes top honors in local polls for its housemade curly noodles and an exciting atmosphere that splits the difference between welcoming and exclusive. It’s open until midnight, but expect a wait, made much more pleasant by a BYOB patio and neighboring Asian outposts hawking snacks like chicken lollipops. The move is the tsukemen, a bowl of fresh noodles accompanied by a concentrated dose of broth that will make your eyes roll back in your head. – Thrillist

Slurping Turtle, Chicago, IL


What you’re getting: Roasted chicken shoyu ramen
All the ramen joints on this list encourage slurping, but there’s only one that wears their slurp on their sleeve. With a Michelin star to his name thanks to his eponymous fusion spot (whose Sunday ramen nights are quite popular in their own right), Chef Takashi opened Slurping Turtle and quickly catapulted to the top of Chicago’s tonkotsu ranks. His traditional pork broth is the jam, but for a more unique offering, go with the roasted chicken shoyu featuring homemade noodles topped with poached egg, scallions, bok choy, and bamboo shoots. – Thrillist

Phil’s BBQ, San Diego, CA

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Phil’s BBQ, San Diego, CA
What you’re getting: The El Toro sandwich and a half rack of baby back ribs
San Diego!? California!? To see a place in Southern California make the list might cause some consternation from the purists, but Phil Pace’s spot has earned a seat at the table. Combining self-taught recipes for rubs and sauces with traditional mesquite BBQing has netted him a successful mini-empire in SD, and last year, that El Toro tri-tip ‘wich was a finalist for Alan Richman’s “Best Sandwich in America” (though those same purists might want to just stick to the baby backs).

Podnah’s Pit, Portland, OR

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Podnah’s Pit, Portland, OR
What you’re getting: The Pitmaster
Podnah’s pitmaster gets up at 5a every day to make the meats, kind of like a blood-stained Dunkin’ Donuts mascot. So pay respect by ordering the namesake, which is a greatest hits of Podnah’s Texas-style meat madness. The heaping platter includes 1/4lb of pulled pork (sauce on the side), 1/4lb of brisket (including melt-in-your-mouth burnt ends), a sausage, two ribs, and, sadly, no Prilosec.