Finding umami in a bowl of Hudson valley ramen

Ramen hunters, beware.

Hudson valley umami is hard to find.

Hipster cool umami ramen soup noodle pork japanese restaurant #hudsonvalleyhipster

Geography sticklers may be quick to dismiss the New Jersey enclaves of Fort Lee and Cliffside Park as ‘outsiders’ to the Hudson Valley Region.

But alas, what is a #hudsonvalleyhipster to do when they are seeking to satisfy a sudden umami fix?


Perhaps you are familiar with the term.

Chemists have identified umami as the fifth taste.

I think of it as a craving for a taste that neither chocolate chip cookies nor salty pretzels will satisfy.

It is the upmost satisfaction you receive after fighting traffic on I-87, fighting for parking in the pouring rain, and finally sitting down in front of a piping hot bowl of ramen.

​This was recently my experience at Blackbeard’s Ramen in Cliffside Park.

The restaurant itself is quite simple. It has space for just a few tables and chairs in the dining area. The television plays anime cartoons in the background and some kitschy anime-type figurines are displayed on walls and countertops.

However, all of this fades into the background when your eyes meet your ramen.

You will discover a host of ingredients fried onions, scallions, dried seaweed all resting upon a bed of ramen noodles.

Ingredients work together with the house made broth like a symphony to create an umami explosion your mouth.

​I ordered the Tonkotsu Ramen bowl.

The menu calls it a “silky-smooth pork and vegetable broth.” I don’t know how to aptly describe this broth any other way, there is a texture to it that is just unreal.

For our readers who don’t jive with a heavy pork taste, I would avoid this bowl and perhaps aim for the Miso or Green Curry bowls instead.

If the Tonkotsu is like hearing Beethoven’s greatest hits played out by a live orchestra, then the other two might be likened to hearing the Star Wars score played by the same band.

All three are fantastic, just different strokes for different folks.

Try it out, and let us know which ramen variation you prefer!

From the lower Hudson Valley you are within an hour of umami greatness!


607 Gorge Road, Cliffside Park, NJ.
Phone: 201.943.8003
Bowls run $10-$14 (perfect, if not more than enough for one person)

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Pro-tip: Call ahead and see if seating is available. On dreary days it seems all of NJ wants ramen and you may be in for a wait!

After dinner coffee?

Try one of these hipster coffee shops.