Think of ramen, and you likely think of the thick porcine bone stock of tonkotsu, or the medicinal richness of chicken broth. Plus, of course, there’s the toppings: silky yellow egg yolks, still soft in their boiled whites; the porchetta-like depth of flavour of char siu; perhaps some meatballs… I doubt your imagination floats in the direction of vegan noodle soup. At least mine didn’t.
I tried their yuzu beer, which had barely a hint of yuzu but was just a really nice Japanese beer. Light and fruity and not too bitter. At the same time, I tucked into my starter of aubergine topped with a sweet miso dressing. The flavour was good, but the aubergine was a tad undercooked, and the whole thing was, well, tiny.
But cracking on with the main event: the Red Dragon Ramen. These are tsukemen – dipping ramen – the noodles hand-rolled, and the broth a thick, umami-rich, spicy, miso- and tomato-based soup.
We skipped the tea on offer in favour of heading back into the grachten for a cocktail at Tess Posthumus’s new venture: Flying Dutchman. But with or without tea, €25 seems like rather a lot for a bowl of soup, a slice of aubergine and a beer – albeit they were pretty well done. I doubt Men Impossible will be replacing my ramen fix once Vegetarian January is over, but for now I’m happy to have found out that vegan ramen is – after all – possible. And I expect many other vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian Amsterdammers will be too.