Ramen and dumplings from “Bob & Jo Truck”

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“Bob & Jo” is one of my absolute favorite food trucks in the city, as readers will recall of my first article about their traveling Korean BBQ truck. I’ve been a regular customer of theirs for some time now, and was aware of their catering menu that included items like bulgogi hot dogs and galbi hamburgers, but they have never been available to street shoppers. While I enjoyed the menu from “Bob & Jo”, even I need some change.

I was excited to see their winter and spring menu a few months back introduce some new items into the mix, specifically their ramen and dumplings. How does this compare against their usual fare? Let’s find out!

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The korean dumplings, or “Mandoo” (spelling varies from Korean restaurant to restaurant), were steamed in this picture, but they also come fried (which I prefer). Sitting under these crunchy pork-filled delights was a bed of lettuce to make you feel slightly less guilty about eating fried food. Garnished with scallions and a drizzling of their own soy-sauce based dipping sauce, these mouthfuls are a great appetizer for the main event. If I say “ra-mein” event, will you all hate me for my awful puns?

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The ramen comes with your choice of either bulgogi beef, spicy chicken, spicy pork, or seafood. All of the soups include a plentiful serving of a colorful array of veggies, including scallions, ginger, finely diced onions, mushrooms, a julienne of carrots, water cress, and bean sprouts, topped with half of a hard-boiled egg. Hiding underneath that bounty is a ton of firm noodles, but buyer beware! Traveling with this soup will cause the noodles to continue to cook, so try and eat this thing as fast as you can.

Eating ramen is an art form. There are different schools on the process, coming from Japan and Korea, with only minor changes between the two. You should make sure you do not use a fork with this and go with chopsticks (if you can not use chopsticks, this is the day to learn), and suck up all that lovely broth after you finish the solids, either using a spoon or just chugging it from the bowl. Don’t be afraid to slurp, but do watch out for splashes – the first five rows will get wet.

I am a big fan of noodle soups, and “Bob & Jo” adding this to their menu was a pleasant and tasty surprise. Not going to lie, I was hesitant at first about this soup since ramen is something that can be easily messed up (especially with the aforementioned overcooking), but this meal was crafted with the same love and care that the owners give to their BBQ dishes. If you have been to their truck before, you see how they not only grill the meat, but handle it and give it the kind of attention to it that you would with a newborn baby. That love goes from their truck into your stomachs, and it pays off.

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Just for old times sake, here is a photo of that classic #5 that I raved about in my last review. My friend who joined me for this lunch does not embrace change like I do, but after seeing his lunch, I must admit I got hungry again very quickly.

Ramen soup costs $8, while an order of dumplings will normally vary depending on the quantity. I got the soup and dumpling combo, which includes three dumplings (but because I am a regular, I got a few more), will cost you $10. I loved the ramen, and have made it my regular thing even though I miss the galbi meat platter greatly. I am not sure if the ramen is seasonal only, although it appears to be, so I am gobbling it up until it is taken off the menu. Grab it up fast before it’s gone!

Follow Bob & Jo on twitter to see where they will be on any day of the week, or check out their official website for more info.

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