Maple Japanese Ramen ~ Philadelphia

September 20, 2022

Maple Japanese Ramen montage 2

The Vitals:
the spot: Maple Japanese Ramen 2102 Chestnut St. Philadelphia PA 19103
the eats: Ramen, Gyoza, Mochiko Chicken
the bucks: $15+ for ramen, apps are under $10
the full nelson: respectable ramen game in Philly

Maple Japanese Ramen was not on my radar when I went went to Philadelphia over the summer. In fact ramen was not in my plans at all. Truth be told: I’m not a ramen head. But I am the father to a Ramen head. By “head” I am invoking variation of the slang “sneaker head”, you know, someone who lives and breathes sneakers.

Heath eats at Maple Japanese Ramen

Diary of a Ramen Head

My kid lives for the slurp. He is always up for a bowl of ramen, even on a muggy July afternoon in Philadelphia. So we found ourselves at Maple Japanese Ramen in Center City Philadelphia.

Maple Japanese Ramen EXT 1

They got fans

Not the ceiling ones either but for the record, the AC was kicking in just fine. And so was business. Even at an odd mid afternoon hour, Maple Japanese Ramen had half the dining room filled. In the Philly tradition, this place is also BYOB, so we took a quick detour to grab some cold Japanese beer.

Maple Japanese Ramen Gyoza

Juicy dumplings

Even though a single bowl Ramen is a meal that can feed two, I had to test drive some appetizers. I do love me some dumplings so Gyoza was an obvious choice. You know how some people say “even bad pizza is good”? I feel that way about dumplings. That’s not to say the Gyoza at Maple Japanese Ramen was bad, in fact far from it. These fried wontons were packing a juicy pork filling. This was the sign that we were in for a solid Ramen & friends experience.

Maple Japanese Ramen Mochiko Chicken

Meet Karaage’s cousin: Mochiko

Back when I lived in downtown Los Angeles, Izakayas were a mainstay in our dining rotation. Japan’s answer to tapas was an affordable way to nibble on yakitori, sometimes sushi and hearty nibbles like Karaage or Japanese fried chicken. I thought this was Karaage but in fact it is called Mochiko.

The interwebs inform me this variant is in fact from Hawaii. Like Karaage, the chicken is marinated in soy sauce and other seasonings. Mochiko takes it into a new direction when it is coated in rice flour, giving it a notorious crunch. The chicken had tang, the texture was distinctive and this was when I said “damn Philadelphia, you got some damn good Japanese”. PS – we haven’t even gotten to the ramen.

Maple Japanese Ramen bowl

I went with spicy

A few years ago I went to a well known ramen joint in NYC called Ippudo. I made the mistake of getting a light broth, forgoing Tonkatsu; the über unctuous fatty broth. I didn’t make the same mistake at Maple Japanese Ramen but I did make a move for some heat. This is the Akamaru Modem Ramen, where a special sauce adds some heat to the base Tonkatsu broth. Three thick slices of pork belly and the soft boiled egg solidify a meal that is rich and satisfying. It was rich like I always hope ramen would be, but an addictive kick of heat chased every spoonful

Maple Japanese Ramen bowl landscape

Drop the chopsticks

Maple Japanese Ramen is legit. And another example of why Philadelphia is a such a great food town: a robust dining scene covering genres better than you might think. I would gladly go to Maple Japanese Ramen on the reg if I lived in Philadelphia or if they were down in Austin. I may not be a Ramen head but I know enough to when when to nod my head when I slurp the good stuff and this is it.

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One response to “Maple Japanese Ramen ~ Philadelphia”

  1. David Terce says:

    Awesome review need to make a trip to Philadelphia now

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