Author: RRM | 12/2017
The story of Gaijin Ramen Shop is one of two best friends, Nicole Mazkour and Tuvan Pham, working together to persevere over adversary. To live their dream. Against all odds a single mother of two and a Vietnam refuge started Gaijin Ramen Shop without any outside support. Self funded and managed this women owned business sets a shining example for others that success is always possible with hard work and tenacity.
Nicole found herself in a shelter for pregnant teens at 17 where she had her first child. While raising her son, she got her highschool and then college degree, enlisted in the Army Reserves and became a Contracting Branch Chief at a government agency.
Tuvan Pham lived in refugee camps during her teenage years, starting to work in the kitchens when she was only 13. Honing her mastery of broths and bold flavors. During this time she took care of her little sister Jesse. She immigrated to the US in 1990, after which she rapidly rose through the ranks at various contracting firms.
The two of them met in 2005, and where best friend nearly instantly. Ten years later in 2015 they realized their dream of starting a restaurant together. Everyday at Gaijin Ramen Shop you will find its two founders serving customers, greeting regulars by name and serving ramen from their hearts in a family friendly environment.
With friends and families who suffer from allergies and dietary restrictions Nicole and Tuvan are very conscious of everything from what goes into their food to what ladle is used to serve it. There is NO MSG in any of the food served at Gaijin Ramen Shop, there are gluten free options, vegan options, egg-free options and you can configure a bowl to cater to even the most demanding dietary restrictions.
Author: RRM | 12/2017
Being in Arlington means that Gaijin Ramen Shop attracts a high end clientele, so cooking to impress is a must. They have committed themselves to fresh food, fresh ingredients, and lots of options so you can make your bowl your own. Unlike most ramen shops, Gaijin Ramen Shop lets you build your own bowl by selecting a base broth and toppings.
The menu at Gaijin Ramen Shop is simply a result of what its owners love. Rather than adhering to any sort preconceived notions, the owners mix and match ingredients and flavors they find interesting and are constantly experimenting, and encourage their customers to do the same with their bowls.
With toppings like beef bulgogi, pulled pork, fried chicken, and fried ramen -- there are lots of unique options you will only find at Gaijin Ramen Shop.
But the real star of the show is the broth. Made fresh daily, this deeply flavorful broth is the results of very high temperature cooking of bone with other unique flavors thrown in like apple, corn, onion, ginger, carrot, cabbage and fresh garlic. The high temperature leads to a more opaque broth that integrates the flavors more completely.
"... people do think all ramen is the same in a way, and I want to say that it's not. Literally every ramen shop in this area has a different take on ramen and that is to be respected and unique in and of itself. There are so many different types and styles of ramen, just walking through Tokyo there is a ramen shop on every corner, sometimes a few, and they are all different styles... ” -- Nicole Mazkour