Owner James Xie of Ramen Hood is proud of the new restaurant’s menu. (David Minton/Staff Photographer)

Restaurant owner James Xie said when many Americans think of ramen, they tend to think of the cheap packages of noodles piled up on shelves in the grocery store.

His mission is to change that notion.

“It’s to introduce your average everyday person and their families and the kids (to ramen) and have them get out of that mindset and the stigma of what a normal ramen is, which is something they get from the grocery stores.”

Anyone who has seen the popular manga and anime “Naruto” knows that ramen is the title character’s favorite meal.

And it looks nothing like what you get at the grocery store.

Xie opened up Ramen Hood in Scottsdale in 2018 and was able to make it succeed even through the COVID-19 pandemic. He recently opened his second location at Chandler Ranch on Dobson Road and Chandler Boulevard.

The restaurant has a bit of a manga, or anime, feel in a giant mural that covers one wall with characters that look like they belong in that universe.

Xie eatery doesn’t serve the traditional ramen you would get in Japan; some allowances were made for American tastes. Think more chicken, less octopus.

“The comments are very inspiring from an actual native Japanese coming from over there, (they say) this is different, it’s interesting, it works. It’s still very positive comments, but they still come, they still bring their families.”

“I wanted to make this concept very simple, but very playful as well,” Xie said. “And that’s why we decided to do the murals. We twist it around to make it more family friendly, not very stuffy compared to a lot of other ramen restaurants.

“And we’re trying to make it nice and bright and the playfulness of the name as well.”

One of the concepts that Xie said he wanted to hold to was making it affordable.

Unlike some other ramen restaurants, he does not charge extra for most added ingredients. The one exception is eggs because their cost has skyrocketed.

“When I first opened in Scottsdale eggs were $9.99 for 15 dozen, and just a few weeks ago it was at $90,” he said. “It’s dropped down to $70 now, but it’s fluctuating between $60 and $90.”

Diners can choose to build their own bowl. They have to choose if they want traditional noodles, or gluten-free. Then they have four choices for the broth (pork, spicy miso, soy sauce or vegetarian).

Next comes the choice of three proteins: pork, teriyaki chicken, or tofu. Finally, comes the choice of 17 toppings, from jalapeno to snap peas. If you do want a seasoned soft-boiled egg, they’re an additional $1.50.

“The reason why I did it all-inclusive is because when I go to those restaurants, I hate it where I have to be very picky and choosey because every little item has a cost to it,” he said.

To celebrate their new Chandler location the restaurant hosted a ramen eating contest on March 29.

Xie said he hopes more Americans will discover what real ramen is and will think of that first, instead of what they find on grocery store shelves. He added that it’s a lot healthier than some other quick options.

“It is on the healthier side, compared to what a lot of people would do,” Xie said. “I mean, if you browse a majority of the toppings are vegetables.

“So they’re ordering vegetables for the kids. I’ve heard comments like, ‘Oh, you know, they’re starting to eat broccoli, or so they’re eating carrots, even though it’s blended in with the noodles, right. It gives them another avenue of cuisine and also slowly introducing them to Asian cuisine as well understanding that there’s so much more out there.”

Ramen Hood

1940 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler



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