Mazemen? Yep, let me explain.
While most of us ramen lovers know the Japanese classic as a noodle soup, it turns out that there is such a thing as “dry ramen”. Abura soba, or “oil noodles” consists of ramen and the traditional toppings but, instead of soup, they are served with a soy-flavored oil. And then there’s hiyashi-chuka which is served cold and a summer favorite. Like abura soba, it consists of ramen and the usual toppings but, in lieu of the soy-based oil, it comes with a soy-vinegar dressing.
And then there’s mazemen, a contemporary incarnation of abura soba which is more fusion than anything else. Take the bacon and egg mazemen, for instance. The noodles are tossed in bacon fat, plated, topped with crisp bacon bits and bonito flakes, and a poached egg. The egg is cut to release the runny yolk, everything is tossed together so that the noodles are coated in a mixture of bacon fat and egg yolk. It’s almost like carbonara except that the egg is cooked. And it is a real show-stopper.
How did we learn about mazemen? Chef Lee Anne Wong has a new show on Cooking Channel. I haven’t seen a single episode in its entirety but Speedy is so hooked on the show. Food Crawl, I believe the title is. And it was in one of the show’s episodes where the bacon and egg mazemen was featured as the star of the menu of New York restaurant Yuji Ramen.
- cooked ramen for two (you may also use any Asian-style egg noodles)
- about 150 g. of bacon, roughly chopped
- a packet of bonito flakes (in photo, above; available in Asian groceries)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 eggs
- Heat a pan and cook the bacon over medium-high heat until oil has been rendered and the bacon is nicely browned.
- Scoop out the bacon.
- Add the cooked noodles to the fat in the pan. Toss to coat each noodle with bacon fat. Taste.
- Add salt and pepper — how much depends on how salty the bacon is.
- Keep the noodles warm.
- Poach the eggs (see how to).
- Assemble the dish. Divide the noodles between two bowls. Divide the bacon and bonito flakes as well and sprinkle on top.
- Lay the poached egg on top of the noodles. Sprinkle with scallions (optional) and serve the bacon and egg mazemen.
To eat the mazemen, break the egg yolk then toss the noodles to coat with the runny yolk. Then, dig in and savor all the wonderful flavors.