Strings Ramen, which originally started in Chicago (voted “Chicago’s Best Ramen Restaurant”), recently opened a third location on North Frances St. in Madison, Wisconsin. After getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the kitchen and speaking with the chef/executive manager, Katie Dong, I learned the art behind Strings and how to eat ramen the right way – I guess I've been doing it wrong all my life.

The Cooking Process

Melissa Simon

All of the Strings locations have identical setups and follow the same procedure to cook and prepare the ramen. The pan-searing happens beforehand, and since everything is made from scratch, the pot of bones and broth takes 2-3 days to cook.

Melissa Simon

But employees must add toppings and prepare the bowl, in an assembly line, in under 2 minutes. This is to make sure the ramen is as fresh as possible for customers.

Chef Dong's 5-step process to eating ramen the right way:

Melissa Simon

1. Soak the seaweed in the broth.

2. Get your face close to the steaming hot bowl to smell the aroma.

3. Taste the broth by sipping from the bowl.

4. Grab a few noodles (not too many!) with chopsticks, soak them in broth, and slurp the noodles.

5. Repeat by soaking each of the toppings in broth and combining it with noodles until you finish.

Alexa Weissman

Dong explained that ramen is a quick, comfort meal that clears your system and gives you a nice sweat in the winter. Since ramen only has 10 minutes of "life," Dong said, you must eat it within that time to experience the freshest and most tasty texture of noodles.

What's On The Menu 

Alexa Weissman

The Strings menu has a variety of options, ranging from edamame beans or sriracha broccoli with bacon bits as an appetizer to dumplings stuffed with meat or veggies. Strings also offers Japanese rice dishes served in broth, as well as various types of ramen (obviously), such as miso ramen, "Tonkotsu" ramen in a creamy pork bone stock, or the spiciest and most popular menu item: "Hell Ramen."

The Spice of "Hell Ramen" 

If you don't mind smoke coming out of your ears, then maybe you can handle it. Hell Ramen is made from the spiciest ingredients and chilis from all around the world. There are 5 different levels of spice, and rumor has it that level 5 requires customers to sign a waiver because of how unbearably hot it is. 

Not only does Strings serve top-notch ramen, but they also strive to educate their customers on how to eat ramen the right way. I highly recommend trying Strings Ramen as a study break during the hell of finals.