As many American college students know, there are a precious few things to enjoy on the tightest of budgets.
Instant ramen is on that short list.
“There are so many people who love instant ramen,” said the owner of Slurp Ramen in Port Jefferson, Francesca Nakagawa.
“How amazing would it be for them to try the real thing?”
That was the goal when Francesca opened Slurp with her husband, Atsushi, at 109 West Broadway.
Francesca, who is from Miller Place, met her future husband when she was studying Japanese at Doshisha University in Kyoto. It was there where she immersed herself in the culture — and learned about the importance of ramen.
“It was so different from anything I had ever seen before,” recalled Francesca of her first taste of real miso ramen.
The couples now lives in Port Jefferson and sees that same experience to play out for Long Islanders every day.
It all begins with the restaurant’s name, Slurp.
“I have had a ton of people come in and they ask if it really is okay to slurp,” Francesca said laughing.
She went on to explain in Japan it is a sign of endearment when one slurps because it means they are eating fast and enjoying the meal.
It also cools down the food, she said.
At Slurp Ramen there are countless ramen soup options, but to help the owners have narrowed down the options to six, which are all customizable.
Slurp opened in March of 2016, and its often packed with patrons slurping up these traditional Japanese dishes.
“Some many people are coming in and telling us this is the first time having real ramen,” said Francesca. “It is really exciting to share that with everybody.”
If you’re intimidated, let GreaterPortJeff help:
What to know when ordering ramen
All the ramen dishes at Slurp come with noodles made fresh from a Japanese partner in Manhattan.
There are six different soups that go along with the ramen noodles, which feature different toppings:
- Slurp Classic: A pork soup with slow cooked soft boiled egg, scallions, and red ginger. (Slurp recommends this for new customers.)
- Slurp Spicy: Spicy sesame soup that features scallions and lightly sweetened ground pork.
- Slurp Smooth: Soy sauce-based pork stock with fried chicken, soft boiled egg, scallions, red ginger, and nori seaweed.
- Slurp Fresh: A vegan option that includes tofu, corn, cabbage, scallions and red ginger.
- Slurp Yuzu: Soup with citrus flavoring, fried chicken, scallions, and nori seaweed.
- Miso Ramen: Miso soup that has pork belly, corn, scallions, with a butter on top.
Not just ramen
The Slurp owners were always looking to offer a variety of traditional Japanese staples.
“We are taking our favorite casual Japanese dishes and bringing it to Port Jefferson,” says Francesca.
This includes Japan’s very popular curry dishes.
“When I was in Japan, that was something you would eat once every few weeks,” Francesca said.
The curry, however, is different from the more recognizable Indian curry. It has similar flavoring, but isn’t spicy; it has a sweeter taste.
Other items on the menu include Hawaiian BBQ, pork belly and Japanese fried chicken rice bowls. Each bowl is covered with Sriracha and Japanese mayo.
“Rice bowls are a whole genre of food in Japan,” said Francesca. “It is anything [that includes] white rice on the bottom with toppings.”
The wider Slurp menu also includes Japanese-style salads, as well as different side dishes from its soft bread sandwiches filled with meat, to edamame with yuzu salt.
Cover photo: Slurp Ramen’s Slurp Classic dish. (Credit: Nicholas Esposito)
Top: Slurp Ramen owners Francesca and Atsushi Nakagawa. (Credit: Nicholas Esposito)