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Tokyo residents will make a trek for quality ramen, especially if the chef is incorporating new flavors or techniques. Such is the case at Muginae, a ramen shop that makes its own noodles south of Tokyo’s center. Owners Akihiro Fukaya and Jun Yajima serve two types of ramen: chicken and soy-based shoyu, and a lighter style called nibora that uses sardines to flavor the broth.
D.C. will have a rare opportunity to try Muginae’s ramen. Little Pearl in Eastern Market is hosting them for a two-day pop-up on May 6 and 7. There will be a few seatings each night, with the first at 5:30 p.m. and the last at 10 p.m. Little Pearl will soon sell tickets on its website for $40 per person, which covers a bowl of ramen, two snacks, and a dessert. Drinks, tax, and tip are not included.
Little Pearl is in the habit of hosting experimental pop-ups. A recent one featured Japanese snacks paired with natural wines. Owner Aaron Silverman frequently makes trips to Japan and draws significant culinary inspiration from the country’s ingredients, techniques, and presentation. Silverman also owns Rose’s Luxury and Pineapple and Pearls.
That said, Silverman hasn’t had Muginae’s ramen. Rather, the shop comes highly recommended from ramen blogger Brian MacDuckston of Ramen Adventures. He and Silverman are pals and meet up when Silverman is on his culinary jaunts. “They were looking to do something international,” Silverman explains. “We were like, ‘Hell yeah, we’d be open to that.’”
MacDuckston will accompany the team from Muginae to D.C. “It’s a small, two-person shop, but Jun and Aki are really interested in how people see ramen overseas, so they were happy for this chance to come out,” MacDuckston explains.
Silverman loves ramen and recounts what it was like when he first had it in Japan. “It’s kind of like eating SpaghettiOs your whole life and then going to Italy,” he says. “But with instant ramen, then you have the real thing and you’re like, ‘Woah!’”
Little Pearl, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; (202) 618-1868; littlepearldc.com