Saturday, 27 April 2013


A few weeks ago I was very fortunate to be part of a small group that was invited to a ramen cooking experience with Wagamama's head chef and trainer Juan Carlos Manteca. Juan has developed a great passion for Japanese food through his work in Wagamama's restaurants in Belfast, Cork and Dublin over the last 7 years. 

Juan started off with a very interesting presentation on ramen. Ramen was brought into Japan from China and over time has become one of the most loved dishes in Japan. Throughout Japan you'll find thousands of ramen restaurants (called ramen-ya). Japanese people believe that ramen making is like an art so each ramen-ya closely guards their secret ramen stock recipe and method of preparation. This art of ramen making is portrayed in a Japanese comedy film called "Tampopo" and an American film called "The Ramen Girl". 

Ramen is a noodle dish served in a flavoured soup with toppings such as bamboo shoots, boiled egg and seaweed. The four main categories of ramen include:
1. Shio - yellow coloured soup usually made from chicken stock
2. Tonkotsu - cloudy white coloured soup made from pork stock
3. Shoyu - clear brown soup made from chicken/vegetable stock and soya sauce
4. Miso -  miso paste mixed with one of the other flavoured stocks

After learning about ramen we got ready to start cooking in Wagamama's South King St kitchen in Dublin. We were each presented with our own Wagamama hat and apron. Juan explained that we'd have a ramen cook-off where each one of us would make our own ramen and then we'd rate each person's ramen.

It felt surreal to be at the other side of the counter as a chef rather than a customer. We had a quick tour around the kitchen and then started to make our own ramen. I made a salmon ramen with vegetables using pork stock (which Juan had been up the night before preparing) and miso paste.

Here's my Salmon Miso Ramen

My Wagamama pose which believe it or not was not a pose (I was tasting Wagamama's ramen stock)!

Wagamama's cooking experience has been enjoyed by the Irish Rugby team and the Irish Olympic team. I had so much fun with Juan and all the staff there. Thanks so much it's an experience that I'll always treasure.

Patrick Hanlon from RTE Food also attended this, click here to see his article on the ramen experience. 

View Wagamama's selection of ramen dishes at


  1. Hi Fiona!

    Patrick here, thanks so much for linking off to the article on RTÉ. Really appreciate it, such a fun morning! Hope your demonstrations are going excellently, wish I could have attended. Settling into London life nicely now!

    Speak soon


  2. Hi Patrick, great to hear from you and that you're settling into London. Looking forward to our first sushi demo next week. Did you eat in any nice Japanese restaurants in London yet?


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