Ramen is a family of Japanese noodle dishes that takes its name from the Chinese noodle soups featuring the pulled ‘la mian’ noodles. Basic ramen usually features a shio (seasoned chicken stock), shoyu (stock with soy sauce) or miso soup base, with alkaline noodles, tender pork chashu (from the Chinese ‘char siew’), menma (simmered bamboo shoots), nori and seasoned eggs. It’s usually eaten in the late evenings either as an after-work dinner for neighbourhood salarymen or at the end of a night of drinking. Yes, ramen is the Japanese answer to a regrettable kebab on the way home from the pub.

More than just a dish, ramen is an icon of Japanese culture and lines for the more famous ramen stores can stretch for literally hours. Each store will add their tiny signature to a bowl of ramen – an infusion of yuzu, a specific seasoning on the chashu, or even preparing their broth with mountain water from a specific spring.

In this dish, the elements of ramen meet the traditional New Orleans po’boy. Sorry there are no step shots to accompany the recipe, but I wasn’t intending this as a blog post really. It was just Sunday lunch.

The Ramen Po’boy

(makes 1)

  • 1 x 12-inch half baguette
  • 4-5 slices chashu (recipe follows)
  • 1 nitamago (recipe follows)
  • 2 small sheets Korean toasted nori
  • Kewpie mayonnaise
  • 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • unsalted butter
  • dijon mustard (you can use seeded mustard or American mustard if preferred)
  • 1/4 cup menma (to serve, commercially available from Japanese grocers)
  1. Cut the baguette in half almost all the way through, butterfly and grill on both sides until toasted. Spread the base side with butter and the top side with dijon, seeded or American mustard (seeded and American are more traditional for a po’boy but I prefer dijon).
  2. Scatter the base half with shredded lettuce, liberally top with the Kewpie mayonnaise and then crumble over the Korean nori.
  3. Fry or grill the chashu slices until warmed and browned and layer onto the sandwich.
  4. Slice the egg into half and then each half into thirds. Cover the chashu slices with egg and scatter with chives.
  5. Serve the po’boy with the menma on the side.


  • 1.5kg pork belly

Stock A

  • 1.5L strong chicken stock
  • 1 sheet kombu
  • 5 shiitake mushrooms

Stock B

  • 500ml water
  • 250ml light soy sauce
  • 100ml sake
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  1. Remove the skin from the chashu and roll it lengthways. Tie the roll with string at 1cm intervals and cover with cold water in a large stockpot. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Discard the water and with your hands wash the pork in warm water to remove any blood or scum. Chill the pork in the fridge for 1 hour.
  2. Bring Stock A ingredients to a simmer and immediately remove the kombu. Add the pork and simmer for 1.5 hours. Remove the pork.
  3. Bring Stock B ingredients to a simmer, add the pork and simmer for a further 30 minutes until the pork is quite tender and a skewer can be inserted through the centre easily. Remove the pork and chill in the fridge until ready.


  • 5-10 free-range eggs (as many as you like)
  • 500ml water
  • 250ml light soy sauce
  • 1 sheet kombu
  • 5 dried anchovies
  • 3 shiitake mushrooms
  • 40g katsuboshi
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 extra star anise
  • 1/2 small onion
  1. Bring all ingredients except the eggs and katsuoboshi to a simmer and remove the kombu. Add in the katsuoboshi and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture and reserve the liquid.
  2. Boil water and plunge in the eggs for 7-8 minutes. Remove and immediately shock in iced water. Peel the eggs and steep in the liquid for 1.5 hours. Remove from the liquid, cover and chill in the fridge.