I was surprised when I discovered that Whole Foods has a ramen bar. This bar is not present at all of them, but apparently newer ones have had them for the past couple of years. I have eaten my fair share of prepackaged ramen (just like every other college student), and I was keen on experiencing Whole Foods' take. To my delight, the unhealthy version of ramen college students are familiar with was the polar opposite of what Whole Foods had to offer. 

There are 4 different bowls that are available at the ramen bar, two of which are vegetarian options for those who don't eat meat - I chose Genji's Original Tonkotsu. 

Ramen Toppings

Hanna Silverstein

The toppings that came with this bowl included chashu pork, ajitsuke tamago (soy marinated egg), soybean sprouts, mayu, scallions, red ginger, black mushroom, sesame seeds, and seaweed. I am personally not a fan of soy marinated eggs (it makes the eggs taste too sweet), but it was a pleasant surprise that the egg was runny.

I have been to other ramen places where the egg was hard-boiled, and given the commercial nature of Whole Foods, I wasn't sure what to expect. There were two slices of the chashu pork which were lean and slightly sweet. Unfortunately, there was a lining of gristle on the pork that was unpleasant to chew. The other toppings were pretty tasty with the ginger giving a nice sharpness to contrast the broth.

Noodles and Broth

Hanna Silverstein

The noodles had a nice chew and did not become soggy within the few minutes it took me to take the pictures. Additionally, the tonkotsu broth did have a good pork flavoring, and I enjoyed the fragrant notes of sesame oil. As tasty as the broth was, however, I could not eat the entire bowl. The broth was a bit too fatty for me and the ginger could only do so much. 

Overall Experience

ramen, noodles, pho
Milana Yemelyanova

This is definitely something that people should experience.  The bowl was prepped and ready to be consumed within four minutes, which made this a speedy meal for me and would be convenient for anyone on a time crunch. It is definitely in a more convenient place than driving over to downtown for Crane Ramen or Dragonfly where parking can be a hassle and wait times can be long.

The price is competitive with these restaurants, with this bowl coming in at $11.71 after tax. When I told my friends, "Whole Foods has a ramen bar", they were all excited to try it. If I was out grocery shopping and decided to treat myself to a bowl of ramen that did not come prepackaged, I would definitely come here!