Food

Birria Ramen Are Like Two Homies, but This Is How You Take It to the Next Level

I love me some goat which is why I am all about birria de chivo (goat) over de res (beef), but I got to say that Taiwan, Pakistan, and Thailand need to be invited to the party if you want the ultimate birria ramen.

If you are in Los Angeles, you probably have seen all the new spots hyping birria tacos which sounds great, but what got my attention is the combination of birria and (instant) ramen. 

What is Ramen

Ramen primarily refers to the type of noodle used which is a ramen although if you are pinche gringo food producer, you think it means all instant noodles. Except those types also try to order Dorito taco locos, burritos, and chimichangas in Mexico. To avoid being “those people,” keep an eye out for the key ingredient that makes ramen, ramen is “kansui” or potassium carbonate and sodium carbonate which gives ramen its chewiness and yellow color.

“Noodle Ingredients: Wheat Flour, Modified Tapioca Starch, Refined Palm Oil, Refined Salt, Soy Lecithin, Onion Extract, Potassium Carbonate, Guar Gum, Mixed Tocopherol Powder, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Phosphate Dibasic, Green Tea Flavor Oil, Riboflavin, Citric Acid.”

Tapatio Instant Ramen noodle ingredients

What is Birria

Although if you know my blog, you know ramen, so you just got to get to know birria which Wikipedia.org defines as:

Birria is a Mexican dish from the state of Jalisco. The dish is a meat stew traditionally made from goat meat, but occasionally made from beef or mutton. The dish is often served at celebratory occasions, such as weddings and baptisms, and holidays, such as Christmas and Easter. Preparation techniques vary, but the dish is often served with corn tortillas, onion, cilantro and lime. The meat is marinated in an adobo made of vinegar, dried chiles, herbs, and spices before being cooked in a broth.”

Wikipedia.org

My favorite spot is over in the valley in Van Nuys called Birrieria Mexico which is also not too far away from Kai Ramen which is another spot in the valley I recommend.

Photo Description: one plate with chopped white onions, lime, a small bowl of chips and salsa, alon with a bowl of birria de chivo.
Goat in Van Nuys is G.O.A.T.

This Combination Has Nothing to Do With Being Japanese Because It Is Just a Legit Noodle Pairing

I love my homies in the community making birria ramen happen, and the reason why I love it is because they are simply using ramen noodles. They are not claiming they are producing authentic ramen/Japanese food or anything of that nature. Instead, they are doing what they do by simply blending ramen noodles which are a staple in the community, along with birria. Something fake as f*ck food producers and other hack restaurateurs can not resist from doing because they are all about cultural appropriation when it comes to making a buck (the two most culturally appropriated foods recently are poke and ramen because they both have nothing to do with being Hawaiian or Japanese).

The Most Popular Instant Ramen Chosen by Vendors

The brand I see constantly used is also my favorite Mexican-American hot sauce which is Tapatio (I’ve never liked Cholula), and I have got to give them credit for using a instant noodle that is actually a ramen noodle (most U.S. companies do not do a ramen noodle).

Legit ramen noodles produced in Korea which beats the vast majority of American producers who have no clue what ramen is. Image courtesy of Tapatio Hot Sauce.

When it comes to instant ramen, there is a reason why Nissin produces a Hot & Spicy with a graphic of a lime, or that Tapatio collaborated with a South Korean producer to produce Tapatio Ramen. The reason being is that the Latin community in Los Angeles grew up eating it, just like I had cuz who needs adult supervision when you can boil water.

Take Your Birria Ramen to the Next Level with Real Fresh Ramen (Noodles)

The vast majority of instant noodles have a spongy and almost soggy tooth to them that reminds you that you are broke AF. The opposite of that would be the fresh ramen noodles you find at ramen restaurants supplied by these major noodle producers who now offer just their noodles to the public:

Photo Description: rows, and rows, and rows of yellowish colored noodles (ramen) are lined up next to each other. Each bundle looks nicely bunched/ordered together.
Nothing reminds you of being broke AF as instant ramen, so fresh ramen is for anybody who can withdraw $20 without having to first deposit $3. Image courtesy of Yamato.

If you are going to use an instant ramen, try finding a non-fried ramen noodle (Sun Noodles to Yamachan is a good brand/product if you can find it).

Beef Noodle Soup, Thai Boat Noodle Soup, to Nihari

Luckily for the abundance of cheap instant noodles, but I have to wonder what other combinations work aside from birria or just using ramen noodles. Since I love to eat, I thought of several other dishes below that have similar flavor profiles to get some inspiration from.

NOODLES

If you aren’t eating birria with a tortilla, there is also noodles, to flatbread that would be on par.

RamenWheat flour, water, kansui, and salt.
Taiwanese Beef Noodle SoupWheat flour, salt, and water.
Thai Boat Noodle SoupRice flour, water, and sometimes tapioca/corn starch.

STOCK

The base stock used for these dishes: ramen (Japan), birria (Mexico), beef noodle soup (Taiwan), boat noodle soup (Thailand), and nihari (Pakistan).

RamenPork to chicken.
Birria Goat to beef shank.
Taiwanese Beef Noodle SoupBeef shank.
Thai Boat Noodle SoupPork stock.
NihariLamb/mutton to goat shank.
If you love birria, you better hit up a Pakistani joint, Al-Noor in LA gets all the hype, but Bismillah in Buena Park is legit too (Shalimar in SF used to be good). Image by Wasif Malik.

BROTH INGREDIENTS

The ingredients listed are only meant to give you a rough idea of the flavor profiles (I’m not going to jack some recipe and claim it as my own like most recipe sites do, so you will have to Google recipes on your own).

RamenOnion, garlic, ginger, cabbage, green onion, kombu, niboshi, katsuobushi, soy sauce, miso, mirin, sake, to salt.
BirriaDried ancho chiles, guajillo, chipotle, tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, peppercorns, cloves, thyme, marjoram, dried oregano, bay leaves, cumin, ginger, to cinnamon (not all ingredients listed).
Taiwanese Beef Noodle SoupGinger, garlic, scallions, onion, tomato, dried chilies, spicy bean paste, sugar, soy sauce, shaoxing wine, star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, fennel, cumin, coriander seeds, sichuan peppercorns, black pepper, and five spice powder.
Thai Boat Noodle SoupPork blood, fish sauce, daikon, garlic, cilantro roots, galangal, star anise, onion, sugar, to black peppercorns (not all ingredients listed).
NihariChapatti flour, turmeric powder, nihari masala (cumin, fennel, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf, nutmeg), ginger, garlic paste, coriander, chili powder, yoghurt, ghee, onion, to salt.

To Top Your Birria Ramen All Off

The thought of chopped cebolla, cilantro, lime, julienned ginger, to sliced Jalapeno gets me salivating regardless if it is paired with chewy ramen noodles, fresh corn tortillas, or hot crispy naan. However you eat it, just don’t be a douche like the aforementioned food producers and hack restaurants.

Photo Description: a brown bowl with filled with a reddish brown stew with chunks of bone and goat meat. Placed next to the bowl is an aluminum foil wrapping up the fresh corn tortillas with a side of lime and cilantro.
I surprisingly found birria de chivo in Denver at La Gaviota, and I almost gave up trying to find it because Americans love their “ground beef.”

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