I dream of ramen….

I will be leaving for a trip to the Philippines in less than a week and I am quite excited that my layover is going to be in Narita. Since we moved from Japan to Texas in 2001, we’ve only been back to Tokyo once in 2010. With my failing memory, I could no longer remember Narita Airport’s layout. It doesn’t help that when we were there last, we chose to stay in the American Airlines lounge the whole time.

This time I am flying solo and without my husband (who has the Executive Platinum status with American Airlines), I won’t have the luxury of staying in an airport club lounge. I googled Narita Airport Terminal 2 and I was surprised to find out that it was designed in the image of 5th Avenue in New York City, sprawling with duty free exclusive designer brands such as Hermes, Gucci, Cartier, and many more. But no, I am not that thrilled about those expensive designer stores. Here’s a screenshot of restaurants at Terminal 2 and let me tell you what I am actually looking forward to:
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ASIAN CAFE Bowl Bowl—such a weird name for a restaurant but….ohhh yes….Ramen!!!

You’re probably wondering what’s so exciting about eating in the airport? Trust me on this one–in Japan, the food is always good—even at the airport!

I love noodles! I eat noodles pretty much every week. And I absolutely am CRAZY over ramen!! There is something magical about slurping those noodles and devouring everything inside that bowl. But too bad for me, Dallas hasn’t really caught up (yet) with the ramen scene unlike New York or Los Angeles.

A month ago, Keith and I celebrated our wedding anniversary and we decided to do a lunch date instead of dinner since it fell on a weekday (our kids’ activities take precedence = story of our lives). We went to Tei An, a trendy and hip restaurant located in the One Arts District in Dallas. It is the food critics’ most favorite Japanese restaurant.

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I ordered the tonkotsu ramen and with one food writer’s description: “the perfectly balanced tonkotsu broth get its rich flavor and texture from slow-cooked pork bones, and a sprinkling of white pepper and chile oil are all you’ll need to create what our food critic called his favorite bowl of soup.” I prayed it was going to be great. It came in a beautiful Japanese bowl. The presentation was awesome. Unfortunately it didn’t deliver, tastewise. For me, the broth was actually quite bland. Ippudo and Momofoku in NYC were way better. Yeah… if this is the best Ramen in Dallas, then I’m out of luck.

As you can sense my frustration, I haven’t been fortunate enough to find a good ramen  in Dallas . And to make matters worse, my friend—who was recently sent back for his second expat assignment to Nagoya, Japan by his company—has been posting on his Facebook page weekly photos of those delicious, hot, mouthwatering noodles he’s eaten over there. Each week, I salivate and crave for ramen.  Each week, I become extremely jealous of him.

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After seeing these pictures, can you empathize with me now?

I will be in Narita Airport twice. Coming back to Dallas, I will have a four hour wait at the airport. If I didn’t get my ramen fix on the first layover, I might even get the courage to take the shuttle bus into the town of Narita and search for a ramen place. Wish me luck!

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