Ramen in the U.S. has come a long way. Once known only in its 10-for-a-dollar instant-lunch form—a staple of offices and dorm rooms all around the '80s and '90s—high-end real ramen shops are springing up left and right on both coasts and everywhere in between. As a half-Japanese kid in the '80s, I grew up eating instant ramen at least once a week, and it still holds a special place in my gut. The real stuff is great, but sometimes only the add-hot-water pack will do.
That said, my tastes have changed and expanded considerably over the years, and sometimes that little flavoring packet just isn't enough. As such, I've spent a lot of time devising ways to upgrade my ramen in cheap, easy ways. Ghetto gourmet, if you will.
As a card-carrying member of the Ramen Transmogrification Society of Greater New York,* it is my duty, my honor, and my privilege to share with you some of our methods and recipes.