There has never been a better time to find a great bowl of ramen in Denver. In fact, varieties like tonkotsu, miso, shio, and shoyu are now commonplace all over town. But finding a bowl of nanban ramen? Now, that’s a different story. Leave it to 20-year-old Domo, Denver’s iconic bastion of traditional Japanese country cuisine, to bring one of Japan’s most interesting flavors to its lunch and dinner menus.
Wondering what nanban is? Well, there’s really no simple answer. While many associate nanban with a sweet-and-sour fried chicken dish, the Japanese traditionally used the word to describe all foreign foods. As the story goes, the Portuguese sailed to Japan by way of India, collecting a variety of novel ingredients with them along the way. Over time, the Japanese embraced those once-exotic ingredients and worked them into a variety of dishes.
You can clearly taste this culinary travelogue in Domo’s nanban ramen. The steaming broth features hints of Indian yellow curry, fresh scallions and bean sprouts, and your choice of chicken or pork. Accompaniments change daily, but include offerings like cilantro-peanut spicy chicken, pickled daikon with fish cakes, and soft tofu with zucchini.
Tip: If you want to order the nanban to go, you’re out of luck. Domo only sells ramen in-house because the restaurant insists that the delicate noodles should be eaten within 15 minutes for peak texture and flavor.
1365 Osage St., Denver, 303-595-3666