Every year, our friends throw a small music event in the woods called Space Camp. This year, there was an alien convenience store, X-Mart, that also hosted pop-up food events. I designed Space Ramen to serve to about 30 people in the middle of the night. Knowing that I’d be working with limited burners and low light, here’s what I did to create the ramen experience:
Our event had both carnivores and vegetarians, so I prepped all the broth at home and froze it. For the meat eaters, I did a sake broth with a 7 hour chicken back and pork trotter boil. I followed Ramen_Lord’s recipe for that. I also prepped some scallion oil for both servings as a finisher. The vegetarians got this broth which uses sesame and soy milk as a thickener. It did tend to overboil when you weren’t watching it, on site.
For toppings, I made a 20 hour sous vide pork shoulder from Serious Eats which might be my fav meat topping now. It’s meaty and super flavorful, but also worked really well for sketchy event storage. (I didn’t want to bring anything raw with me). I took all the onion tops from the scallion oil and dehydrated them in the oven for 5hrs with the door cracked (170 degrees). The veggie ramen also got hibiscus flower rehydrated in ginger and sugar, beech and baby oyster mushroom cooked in oil (it looked like scallops a bit), and garlic scapes (the tops of garlic plants). Meat eaters also got a strip or two of spotted jellyfish. We also added some naruto fishcake.
We blasted the room with UV to make it look more alien, and cooked the noodles in 20% tonic water. It tweaked the taste a little bit (makes it sour) but not too much. If I were to run a glow popup again, I’d probably do pad thai cuz it would work better with tonic water noodles. The noodles did look cool under blacklight, if they were peeking above the broth. I used a combo of shin noodles, these random curly instant chinese noodles with a similar boil time, and sapporo ichiban.
The jellyfish was supposed to glow, but didn’t really. The fishcake lit up a hot pink, so that was fun. The best part was the yolk of the poached egg was very orange, and fun to slide through the noodles. None of this photographed particularly well though, and was 1000x cooler in real life.
Shoutout to X-mart for sous cheffing and taking the orders for me! And for letting me run this random experiment.
I am super excited to do another version of this in a real kitchen to a smaller group, though! Balancing interesting new flavors, textures, and shapes has been really fun, and I loved trying to build a dish that you could maybe order from Deep Space Nine.