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Daddy Ramen elevates tastes to new heights

Daddy Ramen’s house ramen is a splendidly full bowl of tender, toothsome noodles bathed in a savory bone broth that filled my mouth with meaty flavors.

To call this ramen “house ramen” is rather prosaic for the experience, so it ought to be named, I don’t know, Castle Ramen or Chateau Ramen, something more appropriate to the elevated tastes I enjoyed.

The big compostable bowl of house ramen noodles ($13) glistened. Nestled near were tender, sliced pork and delicate flower-cut carrots in orange, white and purple. Fresh corn was carved into the bowl, green onions brought a bright, spring flavor, and the whole thing was topped with flowers. Delicious, hot leftovers were just as good cold for lunch the next day.

Phoenix and Lichen Sigalove take no short cuts in preparing their Asian fusion cuisine, and you can taste the difference: The bone broth takes 18 hours to simmer to perfection; vegetables are carefully selected and hand-carved — some are pickled with a secret blend of seasonings.

“We became obsessed with making ramen at home about two years ago,” said Phoenix Sigalove. “We looked at every online video, cooked up a storm, and at a certain point the idea of a food truck became a wild and crazy idea.”

He says the couple tried to make their own noodles but decided that alone was a full-time job, but they were determined not to use dried or frozen noodles. After tasting trials and errors, they found a Beaverton supplier that could send boxes and boxes of fresh ramen every week, sometimes ferried by friends and relatives.

“We have found what makes really good ramen really good is a time commitment and the best ingredients you can find,” Lichen Sigalove explained. “We set those two things as our priorities from the very beginning.”

Also on the Daddy Ramen menu is the classic bahn-mi sandwich ($12) made with the traditional sliced pork or lemongrass chicken as an alternative. Dressed with a medley of pickled radish, carrot and jalapeno, the bahn-mi was layered in thin slices of cucumber that kissed the tender pork. Sriracha aoli, cilantro and mint danced their finest flavors on that fresh, soft roll.

Daddy Ramen’s take on mac and cheese is ramen topped with sliced green onion and tiny purple flowers. It’s a beautiful dish and, of course, macaroni and cheese is a hit with kids of all ages. This dish is best eaten as soon as it is prepared, hot out of the Daddy Ramen window, as when it cooled the cheeses separated and congealed.

Not tasted because it was all sold out was a Maz Ramen ($14) that had smoked bacon, soft egg, nori and onion jam to dress the noodles. A kid’s ramen bowl is plain noodles in broth ($8), with egg ($1.50) or pork slices ($2.50) as additions. Gluten-free ramen noodles ($2.50) are available on request. A vegan ramen ($11) with a miso-mushroom broth, snow peas, spinach, corn and carrots is on the menu, and Daddy Ramen’s Facebook page announces new creations on a regular basis. This summer, we can expect a variety of new chilled noodle dishes to beat the heat.

Daddy Ramen has a soft spot for the community and offers an $8 pay-it-forward ramen bowl to those who are hungry and squeezing that dime dry. Most days, 4-8 pay-it-forward discs are displayed in the window and are available for the asking — no questions asked, no shame, just good noodles.

Daddy Ramen can be enjoyed at the Ashland Tuesday and Medford Thursday growers markets and until recently, on other days at the Medford Post Office food truck roundup. They’ll be at a new location soon, so check out the Daddy Ramen on Facebook for the latest news. Until then, you can also catch Daddy Ramen at special events: Red Lily Vineyard on June 13 (think bahn-mi with Red Lily’s verdejo and drool) and Del Rio Vineyard on June 21 (pair the house ramen with Rose Joli as an afternoon pick-me-up).

Reach Ashland freelance writer Maureen Flanagan Battistella at mbattistellaor@gmail.com.