Ramen Rummaging With A Noodle Nerd Vol. 2: Chifa

After our college life with Cup Noodles and those crunchy squares of Top Ramen (which by the way we totally ate dry, sprinkled with that little silver packet when we were too lazy and drunk to cook them), our ramen obsession has become a full-on disorder, and we know we’re not alone. Philly has no Momofuku to speak of, so we send palate-about-town Collin Flatt on a mission to find them all. A hellish experience, to be sure.

After breaking down each bowl by availability, price, style and ingredients, scores will be awarded on The Slurp Scale.

Next on the list is Chifa‘s entrant into the fray.

Chifa was an exciting addition to the Garces Kingdom that boasted crazy delicious ceviche, pork lollis, and chicken, while getting you tipsy off my very favorite cocktail, THE PISCO SOUR. But something in the menu seemed a little ADD and without refinement.

The whole ballgame changed with the launch of some new dishes, and a much more focused division between the Peruvian and the Cantonese (and now a bit more pan-asianish) sides of the menu.

When I heard there would be the addition of some ramen, I made sure to get the first bite possible. Morimoto‘s ramen came off with uber-high marks, so where does new Iron Chef fall in line?

Availability: Sadly only dinner when the item was reviewed. Don’t get me wrong, I could eat ramen for dinner every night, but it felt off having a LARGE bowl of soup before the rest of my meal. Don’t even take it off the dinner menu, just add it to lunch. Problem solved.

Price: $10. Woot! Perfect lunch price for the quality and the quantity. But again, a kind of pricy app that you can’t share at night that’s way too filling.

It’s a hefty amount of food and liquid, so it’s definitely worth the price of admission. Plus, it’s a complicated process with multi-layered broth, as well as a very smoky and delcious pork belly.

Style: This is a traditional Shoyu ramen with smoky broth and deep pork flavor. It’s not the milky white like the one you would find at Morimoto, but this is closer to the reality of what Shoyu ramen should be. A mushroom dashi adds lots of earthiness to the broth.

Ingredients: My favorite ingredient was the very heat-filled chili oil drenched Chinese Broccoli. Delicious! What a surprise adding some kick to Ramen. Nice touch.

Pork Belly as it should be. What else do you serve in a Shoyu Ramen? And this is some seriously good fucking pork belly. Sweet and smoke-filled, reminds me of Benton’s Bacon. That’s a good thing.

A soft-cooked egg swam about 1/2 the way around and is always tasty. Runny! Yes!

Overall Score: 4 Slurps (Out of 5)

Delicious Bowl of goodness at the perfect price point. The addition of heat by Chinese Broccoli was a stroke of genius, and you use some damn delicious pork belly. I enjoyed the broth at Morimoto a little more,  missing the richness of the pork neck bones, but not so much it took away from the dish.

The only thing keeping it from perfection is not being a lunch item. Fix it and we got a 5th sluurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp.

– Collin Flatt

Chifa, 707 Chestnut St. (215) 925-5555

  • http://markcole.wordpress.com Mark

    Are you saying that you can eat at Morimoto’s for lunch for only $10? That’s cheaper than their dinner prices! What I want to know is can I go there at noon and order a bowl of nerd noodles from heaven, and the bill will be in $10 range?

  • Poster Nutbag

    i had dinner at snackbar this weekend and saw ramen on the menu but didn’t order it. are you planning on reviewing that bowl in the near future?

    i wish philly had a more established ramen scene with places that specialize in the delicious stuff.

  • http://citypaper.net/mealticket Felicia

    I loved Chifa’s version too, and I’m hopelessly snobbish when it come to ramen. Momofuku ain’t what it used to be, and it’s twice as expensive!

  • phillyneedsramen

    Chifa’s ramen is not that good. My gripe is that the broth is way too fatty and it congeals before you finish it, its like eating noodles with gravy. The noodles were also not that great, looked like Top Ramen.

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