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Sheng Ramen

Be Phan has been a staple in the Charlotte scene for over 25 years. We met Be in 1993 when our first house was located close to her restaurant, Cafe Saigon. Most people pronounce Be’s name “Bee”, and she is fine with that. But the correct pronunciation is “Bay.”

I will never forget that first evening that we walked into the restaurant. Be greeted us at the door and instantly made us feel welcome. We had never had Vietnamese food, so Be in her broken English, walked us through the highlights of the menu. With Vietnamese dishes being so different than Chinese or Thai, we had no idea what to try, so she picked for us. We fell in love with the cuisine and with Be so much that we have been following her around Charlotte for the past 26 years as she has opened new restaurants.

Two years ago, we wrote about her fast casual restaurant, Be’s Noodles and Banh Mi. Plans are underway to open another Be’s in the Red Stone development in Indian Land, SC (just south of Ballantyne), and a full-menu Japanese restaurant in Indian Trail, NC.

Recently, we tried her latest concept, Sheng Ramen. Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup dish which consists of Chinese-style wheat or egg noodles along with some form of meat, usually a seasoned egg, and vegetables in a rich broth. Ramen dishes vary by region in Japan; Sheng Ramen offers several of those regional styles on their menu. The restaurant is located in the Ballantyne Commons East shopping center. We came with our friends, Heidi & Sam Casey, just 2 weeks after the soft opening. So enough time had transpired that most of the “new restaurant” kinks had been worked out.

Be knew that we were coming. With the warm greeting that one gets from a 26 year friendship, Be welcomed us into the restaurant with open arms. And just like she did during our first visit to Cafe Saigon in 1993, she walked us through the menu. Having complete trust that she knows what we like, we let Be order for the table. Within minutes, complimentary glasses of wine and steamed edamame showed up. Shortly thereafter, our friendly server brought the appetizers which Be had selected: the Pork Belly Buns along with the Gyoza (pan fried pork dumplings). Both were unbelievably good - so much so that we ordered another round of each while waiting for our next course.

We decided to order four entrées and split them. Be recommended the Tonkotsu Ramen (braised pork belly, steamed cabbage, along with other vegetables in a scallion-garlic oil infused pork broth); the Spicy Miso Ramen (ground pork, sweet corn, other vegetables in a chilli-infused chicken-based miso broth); the Curry Ramen (chicken, sweet corn, cabbage, bean sprouts, and other veggies in a chicken-based mild curry broth). Heidi’s favorite was the Spicy Miso, Sam’s favorite the Tonkotsu, Beth’s the Curry Ramen, and Jim’s the Steak Mini Hotpot.

So the question that we always ask ourselves when trying a new place is “would we go back?” Well, we’ve been back 2 times already since then! As always, let us know if you try Sheng Ramen or any of our previous Fagan Foodie Reviews. We have plans in the near future to post all of our Foodie Reviews on our website that is currently under development.

Steak Mini Hotpot

Tonkotsu Ramen

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