“Can we get a Perfect!” Immediately, the crowd of customers erupts with enthused cheers. Now, the waiter takes a step forward, peers into my bowl, and curls his lips into a smug grin. Seconds later he bellows, “Can we get an Almost!”. The whole restaurant knows I’m a disappointment; I couldn’t finish the noodles for the best ramen in Cambridge. But still, I laugh along with him and the rest of the restaurant. I guess I won’t be achieving my dreams anytime soon, well at least I hope “almost” soon. What is this broth-soaked quest for perfection, you ask? More on that later; but this unassuming ramen institution has mastered the art of the noodle.

Yume Wo Katare, a small ramen shop in the heart of Porter Square, is undoubtedly Cambridge’s best ramen. But for the founders, employees, and some customers, Yume Wo Katare transcends other ramen establishments by serving another function: it’s a dream shop.

The Ramen of My Dreams

Let’s take a step back for a second. How exactly does a ramen shop also serve up dreams? Before entering the store, a waiter greets six customers, forms a circle, and talks about the importance of talking about and sharing dreams, which is the direct translation of Yume Wo Katare. When ordering ramen, customers are asked whether they would want to share their dreams out loud after their meal. Afterward, customers can admire the purposeful decor in the restaurant, the motivational slogans, and the count of dreams painted on the wall.

Yume Wo Katare's definition of "dreams" is purposely open-ended. Dreams can range from getting good grades on a report card to opening up a fashion business in London. Personally, mine has been to travel to Japan and visit the Shin-Yokohama Rāmen Museum. Ultimately, the dream can be as specific or general as you want it to be. As with any dream, in order to achieve a lofty career goal or short-term wish, you must overcome difficulties and push forward.

At Yume Wo Katare, your enormous bowl of ramen serves as a metaphor for dreams. If you can finish it, well, you can achieve your dreams. To a first time customer, this request may sound daunting. But to the seasoned veteran, this engagement is a testament to your strength, resilience, and camaraderie needed to finish a heaping bowl of delicious ramen.

#SpoonTip: If you arrive at Yume Wo Katare during the beginning of lunch hours and achieve a “Perfect” or “Good” on your ramen, you can recite your dream on camera for a special token! Present the special token on your next visit for a free bowl of ramen.

The Taste

The restaurant is no secret to the public. In fact, tens of people line up every day to snatch a seat at Cambridge’s finest and tastiest dining place. Even in the splintering cold, the warmth of Yume Wo Katare’s ramen is enough to inspire endurance for 60-minute waits.

I can hardly contain my excitement when a bowl of Yume Wo Katare ramen settles in front of me. I pound my fists – chopsticks in hand – as my eyes swell to enormous proportions. Scarfing my ramen down as soon as it lands in front of me, I savor the rich broth, the irresistibly fresh garlic, and the tender pork. The garlicky bean sprouts offer a more cumbersome obstacle on the route to a “Perfect”, but nevertheless, they are still tasty. While this is usually the only bowl of ramen on the menu, other variations include a spicy ramen and a cold ramen. However, this pork ramen is a menu staple, and is always a pleaser.

#SpoonTip: Yume Wo Katare also offers a yearly plan for its most devoted customers. You can pay a one time fee to have unlimited ramen for a whole year (inquire within). Isn’t that amazing?

Yume Wo Katare will continue to be my go-to ramen joint in the Cambridge-Boston area. It’s a place of comfort, solidarity, and deliciousness. Go forth and pursue your dreams; go and try Yume Wo Katare today!