DELAWARE, Ohio (WCMH) — Try to ramen calm: A new ramen restaurant in downtown Delaware is sizzling up a fresh take on Japanese cuisine with bold noodle dishes and traditional rice bowls.

(Courtesy Photo/Yokai Ramen Bistro)

Yokai Ramen Bistro opened its doors in November at 48 N. Sandusky St., around the corner from seafood joint Cove and espresso café Coffeeology. Owner Lu Sha said the restaurant’s ramen recipes are packed with bold flavors.

“I’m a big fan of ramen, and opening a ramen restaurant has always been my dream,” Sha said. “I’m really excited because I’m getting to do something every day that I really enjoy.” 

Sha is capitalizing on the soaring popularity of ramen dishes after a string of noodle shops opened across central Ohio. The trend sprawls across the nation, with the U.S. consuming an average of 4 billion servings of ramen a year, according to a report from Bloomberg. 

The signature Yokai Ramen features marinated minced pork, kikurage mushroom, corn, green onion, seaweed, and black garlic oil in the bistro’s spicy tonkatsu broth. Sha said another customer favorite is the Jigoku Ramen, with Japanese crispy chicken breast, half-cooked egg, and a spicy miso chicken broth. 

Each dish can be customized with different toppings, including shrimp tempura, fish cake, house chili oil, extra noodles, and more. For vegetarians, Yokai offers fried tofu ramen with marinated bamboo, kikurage mushroom, green onion, and sesame oil in a shoyu kelp broth. Sha said the secret to his ramen is a hearty broth made in-house.

“The most important part of the ramen is the broth, and we simmer ours for 10 hours to make a really good broth,” he said.

Sha also specializes in Donburi, a traditional Japanese bowl with different meats and vegetables simmered together and then served over rice. The Chashu Donburi features pork, half-cooked egg, pickled ginger, green onion, sesame rice seasoning, and a special house sauce. In addition, Yokai is home to Japanese appetizers including a vegetable spring roll with a sweet chili sauce and fried dumplings with a house gyoza sauce.

Yokai Ramen Bistro is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. View more menu items and place an online order here.