Hot Dish: Ramen-san Brings Giant Soup Dumplings to Chicago

Hot Dish: Ramen-san Brings Giant Soup Dumplings to Chicago

Zagat |
Nov 23, 2016

Tang Bao is sure to become your new winter obsession

From bone broth cups to Hong Kong egg waffles, Ramen-san has always been a reliable ambassador of food trends in Chicago. One of the city’s foremost contemporary noodle spots, the River North fixture is at it again with its tang bao, a dish that’s likely to become a comfort food staple for the colder months ahead.

Essentially jumbo soup dumplings, tang bao have been popping up steadily in NYC and elsewhere, but they’re still an anomaly in Chicago. Until now, that is. As Ramen-san chef Marcelo Han explains, he started making tang bao as a one-time special, but the customer demand became strong enough to merit a regular spot in the rotation, albeit in limited quantities considering the tedious work that goes into forming these things.

According to Han, the dough for tang bao is pivotal. Not only does it provide the foundation for the dish, but it needs to hold up to the broth without falling apart or getting gummy. “It’s a hot water–based dough, with water added to flour first,” he says. “We use a Kitchen-Aid, but home recipes call for chopsticks that you beat really hard to develop gluten.” He describes it as akin to making pizza dough, portioning and rolling it out, with the hot water serving to activate the gluten and make it more pliable.

With the dough in place, it’s time for the filling. Han prepares a gyoza mixture of pork shoulder, pork belly and aromatics like ginger, garlic and green onions as the base, adding miso and king crab. The all-important piece of the puzzle for all soup dumplings is gelatin, which allows chefs to wrap the soup inside the dough and steam it. For his tang bao, Han uses gelatin made from Ramen-san’s chicken ramen broth, one he describes as having a lot of body and seasoning to stand up to the pork and crab medley.

Once the dough is rolled out, each piece gets a mix of gelatin and meat, at about a 3:1 ratio of gelatin to pork. Once the mixture is finished with king crab, Han folds the dough over the top and steams the dumplings for roughly 12 minutes in an industrial oven. It’s all finished with spicy black vinegar — a combo of spicy sesame oil and black vinegar — and thin juliennes of ginger. One of the coolest aspects of Ramen-san’s tang bao is how it’s served to guests, with a spoon and a colorful straw, for optimal slurping. “We tell them to pop it open with a spoon and then carefully sip it with the straw,” he explains.

While the pork and crab combo is the standard, Han says they’ve done different variations like truffles and corn with lobster, and are thinking about offering more flavors through the seasons. For now, the tang bao are available Sunday to Thursday with limited availability.

All photos courtesy of Jeff Marini

59 W. Hubbard St.; 312-377-9950

Media Contact

Emily Clark pr@leye.com 773-878-7340

You May Also Like...

In The Restaurants
#LettuceLookBack: 18 of our Favorite Moments of 2018
Dec 10, 2018

It’s been 47 years since we opened the doors of our first restaurant, but 2018 was a year of…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Holiday Happenings Throughout December 2018
Dec 10, 2018

Kids are out on winter break,  the smell of baking spices filling the air and holiday tunes…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Christmas Eve 2018: Chicagoland
Dec 10, 2018

If you are looking to dine out this Christmas Eve, we have restaurants that are open on Monday,…

read more >
In The Restaurants
An Italian Christmas: Where to Enjoy the Feast of the Seven Fishes
Dec 7, 2018

In southern regions of Italy, the Feast of the Seven Fishes is the customary meal on Christmas Eve…

read more >
In The Restaurants
New Year’s Eve 2018: Chicagoland
Dec 6, 2018

Do you have plans yet for New Year's Eve? We've got you covered with special dinners, parties and…

read more >
Openings
Ramen-san’s Newest Location is Now Open in Streeterville
Dec 4, 2018

The latest location of Ramen-san (@ramensanchi) is now open in Streeterville! The popular noodle…

read more >
How To
8 Ways to Use Your Lettuce Gift Card This Holiday Season
Dec 3, 2018

Racking your brain for the perfect holiday gift? Here's an idea, how about a Lettuce Entertain You…

read more >
In The Restaurants
New Year’s Day 2019: Chicagoland
Nov 28, 2018

New Year's Day is a time for relaxing and we're celebrating with everything from brunch buffets to…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Eat Lunch
Nov 24, 2018

For that one hour escape from your office, you want to make sure to make most of your lunch hour.…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Late Night & Live Music with Lettuce
Nov 15, 2018

Night owls rejoice - select Lettuce restaurants and nightclubs offer everything from late-night food…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Win FREE Ramen for a Year at the New Ramen-san Streeterville (Opening Soon!)
Nov 7, 2018

Ramen-san is opening later this month in Streeterville (676 N. Saint Clair St.), dishing out its…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Happy Hour
Nov 1, 2018

It's 5 o'clock somewhere! Here are all the happy hour deals at select Lettuce Entertain You…

read more >
In The Restaurants
The Best Time of the Year: Patio Season
Aug 10, 2018

Warm weather is here, which means al fresco dining is too! We've rounded up the best patios at…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Lettuce Life: Alex Payne Takes Drawing on Menus to a Whole New Level
Aug 9, 2018

Lettuce Life takes you behind the scenes into the culture of Lettuce Entertain You, spotlighting the…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Cool Off at Ramen-san This Summer
Jul 30, 2018

Summer is in full swing, where the Chicago weather is hot and the new Ramen-san in Fulton Market is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Your Summer Ice Cream Checklist
Jul 19, 2018

I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM...we all know the drill so let's get to the good stuff. July is National Ice…

read more >
Openings
Now Open: Aba Brings Mediterranean Summer Vibes to Chicago
Jun 6, 2018

Aba is now open for dinner and with summer in Chicago almost here, we’ve got our eyes set on…

read more >
Openings
Ramen-san Sends Noods to Fulton Market
Jun 4, 2018

The second edition of Ramen-san (@ramensanchi) is now open, bringing the "San" vibe of broth, beer…

read more >
In The Restaurants
James Beard Eats Week 2018
Apr 17, 2018

James Beard Eats Week is back! From April 27-May 7 show your support of aspiring Chicago culinary…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Trending Now: Matcha
Apr 10, 2018

For all those who are matcha obsessed our chefs and mixologists have incorporated this…

read more >
How To
Perfect Pair: Ramen + Riesling
Feb 26, 2018

Winter in Chicago just begs for a large bowl of steaming hot ramen, so why not do it up right and…

read more >
How To
Already Fell Off the Healthy New Year’s Resolution Wagon? Let’s Eat.
Jan 12, 2018

"New Year, Same Me" more your speed? Well, we're right there with you. Celebrate one of our favorite…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Building The Perfect Bowl Of Ramen
Jan 1, 2018

'Tis the season for a hearty bowl of ramen to warm up to in these colder winter months. But what…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Vegetarian Comfort Food
Dec 28, 2017

A New Year's resolution that we are making is to incorporate more veggies into our diet, but it's…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Ramen-san’s Japanese Ol’ Fashioned
Oct 19, 2017

The Japanese Ol' Fashioned at Ramen-san is a new take on the classic American cocktail. Keep your…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Roll Your Own at Ramen-san
Apr 14, 2017

At Ramen-san you'll find steaming bowls of noodles and old-school hip hop. But, beyond the ramen,…

read more >
How To
How to: Eat Clean
Mar 21, 2017

Let’s be honest, the vegan, paleo, gluten-free talk can get a little, well, intimidating. What…

read more >
In The Restaurants
A New Way to Eat “Soup” This Winter
Jan 9, 2017

With winter’s cold chill in the air, soup is our go-to for when we need something to warm our…

read more >
In The Restaurants
The Japanese Comfort Food You Need to Know About
Oct 15, 2016

We’ve got a new kind of comfort food to keep you warm during the colder months here in Chicago:…

read more >
In The Restaurants
And a Happy National Ice Cream Month to You
Jul 15, 2016

There are a million reasons why we all love frozen treats. Here are just a few…   They can be…

read more >
In The Restaurants
A Few of Our Favorite Brunch Dishes
May 15, 2016

[caption id="attachment_4528" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Brunch at Tallboy Taco[/caption]…

read more >

Recent Posts

In The Restaurants
Pappy Van Winkle is Back and Bub City’s Got It
Dec 12, 2018

Even if you’re not a whiskey aficionado, trust us when we say there’s something special about…

read more >
In The Restaurants
How Lettuce Does Dinner and a (Holiday) Movie
Dec 11, 2018

It’s cold outside and we know that all you want to do is cozy up on the couch with some comfort…

read more >
How To
The Perfect Party Appetizers
Dec 11, 2018

A well-crafted appetizer is the perfect way to make sure your guests won't go hungry so you can…

read more >
In The Restaurants
#LettuceLookBack: 18 of our Favorite Moments of 2018
Dec 10, 2018

It’s been 47 years since we opened the doors of our first restaurant, but 2018 was a year of…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Osteria Via Stato’s Cranberry Cello
Dec 10, 2018

Sipping on Osteria Via Stato's Cranberry Cello is always a great idea, and we're here to help you…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Holiday Happenings Throughout December 2018
Dec 10, 2018

Kids are out on winter break,  the smell of baking spices filling the air and holiday tunes…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Christmas Eve 2018: Metro D.C. Area
Dec 10, 2018

Happy Holidays everyone! We are here to help you celebrate Christmas Eve with delicious meals around…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Christmas Eve 2018: Los Angeles
Dec 10, 2018

It's time for Christmas Eve in sunny California! Spend your holiday with us at one of our Stella…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Christmas Eve 2018: Twin Cities
Dec 10, 2018

Twin Cities, Christmas Eve is just around the corner and we want to help you celebrate. Big Bowl and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Christmas Eve 2018: Chicagoland
Dec 10, 2018

If you are looking to dine out this Christmas Eve, we have restaurants that are open on Monday,…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Christmas Eve 2018: Las Vegas
Dec 10, 2018

Celebrating Christmas Eve in Vegas? Here are a few of our restaurants open on Monday, December 24.…

read more >
In The Restaurants
New Year’s Eve 2018: Los Angeles
Dec 9, 2018

Celebrate New Year's Eve at one of our Stella Barra Pizzeria locations! Perfect for the entire…

read more >
Lettuce Consulting Group

Grow Your Business

Learn More
Career Opportunities

Join Our Team

Search Jobs
Latest Articles

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign Up Now

Lettuce on Instagram

Checkout our feed @lettuceentertainyou!