This post was never supposed to happen. This was supposed to be a ranking of NYC’s best veggie ramen. However, I accidentally discovered something completely devastating in the process.
I discovered that most of NYC’s veggie ramen is not vegan.
Rewind to a few weeks ago, when I came up with the idea to eat & rank vegan ramen from all the best places in NYC. After a bit of research, I curated a list of 18 the most highly-regarded ramen restaurants that also have a veggie option. However, I wanted to make sure their vegetarian ramen was 100% vegan before I went.
So I picked up my phone and started calling the restaurants. It was then that I learned that a good majority of the vegetarian/vegan options at these places (including places where I’ve eaten in the past as a vegan) are NOT vegan. Many also falsely mark their vegetarian options as vegan on their menus, which makes it even more misleading. I even discovered one place where the vegetarian option is made with meat (Totto Ramen; explained below).
I’m not writing this blog post to attack or “expose” these ramen places, I’m more doing this because I know a lot of vegans out there love ramen and go out to eat ramen in NYC, so I thought this might be useful for them.
Out of the 18 places listed below, 9 of them (in red) are not vegan, as they exclusively use egg noodles, 5 (in yellow) use egg noodles but have other noodle options, and 4 (in green) have 100% vegan options.
- Mr. Taka
- Ramen Shack
- Ivan Ramen
- Rai Rai Ken
- Shuya Cafe De Ramen
- Ramen Ishida
- TOTTO: This place COOKS THEIR NOODLES IN CHICKEN BROTH, so even their veggie ramen (which uses vegetarian broth) is not vegetarian. When I asked if they could cook the noodles in regular water, I was told no.
- MOKBAR: Their veggie option, which is advertised as VEGAN, is not in fact vegan; their noodles have egg powder. Can sub rice for noodles.
- MISOYA: Uses egg noodles. Can sub rice for noodles.
- HIDE-CHAN: Uses egg noodles.
- KOGANE: Uses egg noodles
- CHUKO: Uses egg noodles. Was told they are working on an egg-free version, so hopefully they debut that soon.
- MR. TAKA: Uses egg noodles
- RAMEN SHACK: Uses egg noodles.
- GANSO: Uses egg noodles. Can sub rice for noodles.
Side note: A few of these places (Mokbar, Misoya, and Ganso), say you can substitute rice for the noodles, but doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of going to a noodle shop?
USES EGG NOODLES BUT HAS OTHER NOODLE OPTIONS:
- IPPUDO: The wasabi shoyu option is vegan if you sub rice noodles for the regular noodles. All other vegetarian options are NOT vegan.
- MENTOKU: Ask for rice noodles instead of the regular noodles.
- IVAN RAMEN: Ask for tofu noodles instead of the regular noodles.
- BASSANOVA: Ask for rice noodles instead of the regular noodles. Also make sure to ask for no ginger onion flakes, which are fried in animal fat.
- RAMEN-YA: Ask for tofu noodles instead of the regular noodles.
One thing I wonder is why these ramen places don’t advertise the fact that they have other noodle options– I never knew that so many places had the option to sub tofu/rice noodles for the egg noodles.
100% VEGAN OPTION(S) AVAILABLE (NO SUBS NECESSARY):