Oodles of Noodles Don’t Disappoint

Alyssa Wiboon, Staff

Walk into just about any grocery store near you, and you’ll likely find some brightly-colored packages of instant Japanese noodles. But depending on the way you look at it, ramen can be seen as either a college dorm go-to or a fine dining obsession that has a prominent position in American food culture. It’s thought that Chinese tradesmen first brought wheat noodles to Yokohama, a Japanese port, in the late 1800s. After World War II, Ramen swept the U.S. when they flooded a hungry Japan with cheap wheat, according to The New Yorker. Later, different versions and styles of ramen became in high demand, known for its wavy noodles, various toppings, and flavorful broth.

Halfway between Downtown Windermere and International Drive, Oodle Ramen and More opened its first location at the beginning of 2023. Still, in its soft opening, the restaurant is continuing to adjust to its new life. Co-owners Ben and Kevin decided to open up their first restaurant together because of their, “Passion for making ramen, and the nice area.” They felt as if this were the perfect thing to start off the new year. Big on their authenticity, the two believe that their homemade broth sets them apart from other local ramen restaurants because they, “Spend almost six to seven hours every day making [their] broth from fresh meat and bones.” One of the hardest challenges they faced when opening their restaurant was, “Finding employees because [they] were short on staff.” Nevertheless, they managed to hire lovely staff and were ready to open up to the public.

After searching for a ramen restaurant close to my house for a while, I never really seemed to find one. As big ramen lovers, my family and I would drive almost 30 minutes to the Downtown Orlando area just to eat ramen. So when we saw that Oodle Ramen and More was opening up so close to home, we knew we had to give it a try.

When we first arrived at the restaurant, we were immediately welcomed by the staff and were quickly seated. The restaurant’s interior gives off a modern feel with its LED lighting and modern furniture. The brown color palette also makes for a relaxed atmosphere. I took notice of the wall art on the side of the restaurant that embodies ancient Asian landscape paintings.
As we glanced at the menu, we were pleasantly surprised by the variety that the restaurant had to offer. They had a wide range of ramen, small plates, rice bowls, desserts, and Japanese drinks, my personal favorite being the famous Ramune drink. I appreciated how their menu included a long list of topping additions, which really gives customers the opportunity to customize their ramen dish to exactly the way they like it.

Ben, the co-owner, says that they love to, “Incorporate different types of Asian cuisines in the menu,” such as Japanese, Chinese, and Thai foods, in order to bring out diverse flavors that are still authentic. Personally, I struggled to pick exactly what to order but finally decided on their black tonkatsu ramen and cucumber salad. It didn’t take long for our food to arrive. I couldn’t help but notice the tasty scent of ramen wafting toward me as our waitress brought over our food. I was ready to dig in.

The ramen was nothing short of delicious. I immediately understood what the owners said about their fresh broth. I could easily tell how much hard work was put into making their soup every day. Broth aside, the noodles had great texture, the chashu (Japanese braised pork belly) and seasoned egg had a mix of savory and sweet flavors, the kamaboko (Japanese fish cake) looked adorable with the white and pink swirl, and the vegetables brought everything together. It really tasted as good as it looked. The presentation was neat and intricate, with vibrant colors from the vegetables. In Ben’s opinion, the key to good ramen is, “How the noodles combine with the broth,” bringing yummy flavor out of every bite. I knew our visit was a success when I saw my family’s reaction to their food. A smile from ear to ear, I was glad to hear we had finally found our new favorite ramen restaurant.

Too stuffed from their filling ramen, we couldn’t save room for the restaurant’s selection of Asian desserts. I look forward to trying their green tea cheesecake next time. As my family and I headed out, the staff was so kind to wave goodbye. We couldn’t wait to come back for not only the delicious food but also the sweet staff. Next time I come, I’m definitely going to order their
rice bowls. There’s no question that my family and I will be returning for more.

(Above) To my eager tastebuds, I couldn’t resist the restaurant’s selection of appetizers. My mother ordered their takoyaki octopus balls, while my father ordered fried oysters. But personally, I was impressed with their Sichuan cucumber salad.The coolness of the cucumber complemented the spiciness of the peppers and sauce, creating the perfect balance.
(Above) Oodle Ramen and More serves many different variations of ramen, ranging from the classic tonkatsu to spicy miso ramen. This gives customers an opportunity to try something new every time. My favorite ramen dish on the menu is their black tonkatsu, which contains a pork bone broth, black garlic oil, bamboo, scallions, sweet corn, chashu wood ear mushroom, egg, narutomaki fish cake, and komi oil. Pictured on top is their Thai curry
ramena and on the bottom right is their Tan Tan ramen.
(Above) Before we entered the restaurant, a projector above the outside of the building cast down a real-life moving image of koi fish swimming in a pond. Seconds later, the image changed to brightly colored clown fish swimming in an ocean. This can keep little kids entertained while waiting for a table. It was a small yet sweet addition to the restaurant that caught my eye.
(Above) In the future, Ben looks forward to, “Opening up new locations and expanding the business.” Hopefully, in a few years’ time, this building won’t be the only Oodle Ramen and More in Orlando. This restaurant is here to stay! All photos by Alyssa Wiboon. (All photos by Alyssa Wiboon.)