Wait. Before I get into the seriousness of this review and my overwhelming pain from my jaw being dropped for so long, I’d just like to point out that I ate at a Soul Food Ramen place. I’m not sure if you all know how serious this is. Ramen, which has been matriculated through the African-American community pack by pack to help those less fortunate stay alive, has now been made soul food style. Listen. A SOUL FOOD RAMEN SPOT! I’m never going to get over this for as long as I live. F*** you if you’re unimpressed, but me, I give credit and awe where it’s due.
This was my first time in Portland and I planned to go check out a food truck during lunch, but they didn’t have what I wanted to order so I searched for other soul-food spots in the area. You can imagine the look on my face when I saw a Ramen dish at a restaurant called Mama San Soul Shack. My first thought was Soul Shack? Isn’t that a name used for a soul-food restaurant? But, little did I know I’d be walking through the pearly gates of heaven.
This restaurant is located on N. Lombard Street in Portland and isn’t something that you would seek out if you rode past it. There are no whistles and bells with this place, just a small restaurant that seats maybe 15 people at one time. During my travels I always look for some kind of soup or salad during lunch time because it doesn’t weigh me down during the remainder of the day. I saw that they had a special where they offered a Deep Fried Black Eye Pea dish and a Banana Leaf Pork Rice Bowl. But, I’ll start off with the main event. The House Ramen was served with Deep Fried Black Eyed Peas, Sous Vide Egg, Shiitake Mushrooms, Green Onions, and Garlic Oil. I opted to add chicken in my ramen as well. If you’re a fan of black-eyed peas than this dish will excite you more than you think it would. The flavors were spicy, salty, and flavorful. The black eyed peas stood out with this dish as I’ve never had them fried before. There was a point where I couldn’t stop being so excited about the flavors that this dish offered, but I couldn’t get over the fact that I was eating at a Soul Food Ramen place.
The second dish that was ordered was the Banana Leaf Pork Rice Bowl. It consisted of Fried Eggs, Collard Greens, Kimchi, Pickled Vegetables, and Bean Sprouts. If you’re looking for a dish that’s packed with flavors than this is the perfect one for you. The saltiness of the pork along with the sour flavor of the Pickled Vegetables worked hand in hand. I’m not sure what good deed I did to deserve a meal like this, but I’ll continue to do whatever I’m doing in hopes of finding dishes like these again. The collard greens weren’t over powering, but it did have a spicy taste at the end of each bite. There are so many things and words I can use to describe how well this dish is, but you’ll just have to find out by yourself.
Overall, this restaurant is a must-go to. If you’re in Portland, and don’t come to this restaurant you’ll be jeopardizing our friendship. Please, don’t do that, I genuinely enjoy being your friend!