Ramen's evolved through history, from its beginnings in China to reaching Japan and beyond. And while the immigrant food isn't new, its popularity is soaring in Chicago, as there seems to be a new shop opening every month. In the spirit of March Madness, you can crown one shop as Chicago's favorite ramen. There are four round one match ups, and voting will start right now and end at 9 a.m. Friday.
A word to the wise: While several suburban ramen joints serve tasty bowls, this initial bracket's restricted to city entries. This is also an experiment, so it's limited to just eight. The selection committee regrets any omissions. Happy slurping!
Round 1 match ups
Strings: This Chinatown favorite, which recently expanded to Lincoln Park, serves a variety of different broths.
Yusho: The Sunday ramen at Yusho still draws raves for the Kunko, an unorthodox take that features porchetta.
High Five Ramen: The spiciest of the bunch, High Five Ramen's smooth broth burns your tongue with a blend of Asian peppers that's unforgettable.
Ramen-san: Toppings like fried chicken, brisket from neighboring Bub City and kimchi are what makes this Hubbard Street LEYE spot stand out.
Furious Spoon: The house-made noodles give this Wicker Park newcomer an edge over many other shops.
Oiistar: Mere blocks south, Oiistar's ramen takes nontraditional risks, blending French and Italian influences to concoct bowls like the Tikkaman (chicken, masala, bean sprouts, nori and roasted sesame).
Slurping Turtle: Takashi Yagihashi's venture away from fine dining produces some of the best bowls in the city including the Tan Tan Men, a spicy broth with pork meatballs.
Wasabi: Although ownership officially opens Ramen Takeya tonight on Fulton Market, its first restaurant uses a thinner noodle than what most expect from ramen. Wasabi's tonkatsu broth is a bit heavier than most and its chasu is made from Berkshire pork.