Dear noodles in the heart of Manhattan
The culinary world thrives on one-upmanship. The best this, the greatest that, the finest this, the most delicious that, and the perennial most expensive. New York City is where these competitive forces seem to converge, appropriately: see the US$150 (RM580) platinum-covered Patrón Platinum Donut at Manila Social Club in Brooklyn, or Serendipity 3’s US$1,000 (RM3,900) Golden Opulence sundae. And now Chef Yuki Wakiya is getting in on the game, serving up the world’s most expensive ramen at his restaurant KOA in the Flatiron District of Manhattan.
Priced at an eye-watering US$180 (RM725), Chef Wakiya’s Kobe Wagyu Ramen uses Shanton broth as its base, made from a combination of pork, chicken, dried shrimp, dried scallop and dried konbu seaweed. Upon this savoury stock is piled Japanese Kobe beef steaks imported from Japan and grilled-to-order on special Binchotan white charcoal grills. Garnishes are nothing fancy; just a few dabs of black truffles and 24-karat gold leaf. The ramen is presented in handmade bowls alongside seasonal white and green asparagus and served with elaborate handmade chopsticks that guests may take home.
This isn’t a pack of instant noodles found in college dorms; this is rarefied ramen that has eclipsed Chef Shoichi Fujimaki’s US$120 (RM$460) ramen in Tokyo as the world’s most expensive ramen. And if noodles don’t catch your fancy, there is plenty else at KOA well worth perusal – including dishes drawn from China, like the Hehe-a-He Chicken, wok-fried with choten and takanotsume peppers.