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Don't Tell my Grandma
Juandy Epicurean Escapades: Ramen, Ja Ja Men & More!

In this episode of the “Don’t Tell My Grandma” podcast, hosts Juan and Wendy celebrate Wendy’s recent accomplishment of passing her NASM CPT certified personal trainer exam by discussing their love for food and culinary adventures. They reminisce about their experiences with ramen in Tokyo, the Japanese dish Ja Ja Men, Italian cuisine, and a fantastic Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich.

The hosts also share details about a delicious celebratory dinner they made together, including top sirloin steak and shrimp sautéed in the leftover aju.

Join Juan and Wendy as they emphasize the importance of food in exploring new cultures and traveling the world.

Hey everybody! Welcome back to the Don’t Tell My Grandma podcast!
The best podcast about science, culture, and relationships, fat checked by a dog!
I’m your host Juan and I’m joined as always by the biggest dog lover on earth and my personal sous chef Wendy.
Wendy, how are you doing?
Oh! Hey, am I the sous chef or am I the…
Well, it depends. In some recipes you’re the sous chef, in some recipes you’re the main chef.
That is so true. I feel like tonight was pretty balanced.
We just whipped out, well I wouldn’t say whipped out, we just spent the night curating the most perfect dinner.
Oh, yes.
In celebration of us and our hard work this week.
It has been one hard week to say the least.
Not gonna go into that.
But we just treated ourselves to a delicious Sunday Easter dinner.
And it was made with love.
What did we make my love?
We made some delicious, I guess it’s like red steak, no steak.
Yeah, red steak.
Red steak.
What other color is the steak? I don’t know, green, blue.
Red meat.
We made red meat.
We made a top sirloin steak. How do I explain food in a beautiful way?
I don’t know, I don’t know how people do it.
We on top of a bed of, well we didn’t have, on top of a bed of broccoli carefully crisped in the oven.
Paired with a side of mashed butternut squash.
Creamy mixed in with butter and goat cheese.
Thank you, mom.
And some shrimp.
And some not only shrimp, but sauteed in the leftover aju from the…
Oh, aju, wow.
We’re really using that vocabulary here.
From the steak that we made.
Are you listening to this, Marilyn? That university degree really is working. She’s using the big words.
She wishes.
That’s right folks, if you haven’t realized yet, we’re talking about food today, so…
Supervisors, I’m really excited about this one.
Yeah, supervisors are going crazy.
He loves when we talk about food because he is food motivated like nobody’s business.
No other.
He’s bringing his story now.
So, we had a great night and wanted just to make sure to share this with everybody else because, you know, some great things happened today.
We, well, I say we because we all worked on this, but Wendy had a wonderful display of her, you know, her knowledge and her capacities, her skills.
And my grit.
And her grit, her hard work.
And she passed her, what is the name of the test?
My NASM CPT certified personal trainer exam.
That’s right, you can be a personal trainer now.
Look at that.
Another road of your career just opened up for you.
Isn’t that amazing?
That’s right. It is so amazing.
And I didn’t think that this would happen this early on because I have not even gotten through half of the coursework because life and working a full time job.
It is a lot of material. It’s a big book.
It’s very dense.
The information, the material is very scientific based.
Which is a great thing, but it’s super dense.
And I am not the best at self learning.
You did amazing.
But thank you.
But look at me. I did it.
And to be fair, like 120 questions.
I don’t think that’s the best way to evaluate your knowledge and what you’ve taken away from supposedly 24 chapters, 800 pages of dense information.
But hey, here we are.
I did my best to answer every question with an educated guess.
So I’m very proud of myself and it’s something that I want to keep working at.
And as I said before, now that you’ve passed the test, you can work on filling up the gaps that you have and prepare yourself properly without having to worry about a deadline.
And this is the way that I can prep to become a good trainer rather than just to study for a test.
It’s not knowledge that will help me in my career and help other people, empower other people, not just to get a passing grade on an exam.
But it is a confidence booster.
So that was great.
And now I don’t have to postpone and have this deadline or exam date hanging over my head again.
So now I just know that the possibilities, the opportunities are ahead of me.
That’s a really good feeling to have.
You worked really hard for this family and this family is grateful to you.
And so we made some delicious food because that’s what we do in this family.
When we celebrate, we celebrate with.
Yes, we work together.
We do.
So we whipped out.
I don’t know why I keep saying that.
That’s the word of the day.
We whipped it out.
Just kidding.
So we were just kind of taking a trip down memory lane and somehow, even though we weren’t eating any Japanese food tonight, we were kind of embarking, e-embarking rather on our our foodie adventures in Japan and the all of the ramen that we ate there.
Oh, my gosh.
Unfortunately, where we moved when we moved in together had so many ramen shops, but not one.
I don’t know what happened, guys.
Not one of those shops were stand out for us.
I don’t know why.
I think that overall in Tokyo, it’s hard to find a good ramen place.
I mean, you have your staple Ichiran ramen.
That’s what most people know.
Ippudo is also pretty good.
Sapporo. No, no, Sapporo.
Ippudo. Yeah.
The chains.
The chains.
They’re, you know, old and trusty.
You can go there and have a really good ramen.
But if you go to a small place like you have to really research and find a small place that makes some good ramens.
I really appreciate your input on that one.
Let me continue.
Oh, the manager is here is like, oh, she apologizes for that.
I haven’t introduced the voice of the of the of the good little way to slide that in.
Wendy, that was not appropriate.
Look at this dignified face. We want our listeners to respect us.
Oh, wow. You offended him so much he left.
What? That was you. You’re the one mocking his voice.
No, I’m not mocking his voice.
You’re the one putting. You’re the one making his voice sound like a weird creeper.
No, that’s how he sounds in my head.
All right. So as I was saying.
As I was saying, I found maybe two ramen places that were not chains that were really good, that were memorable and worth mentioning.
And OK, strangely, they were both in Futako, that Macau, which was the area where I moved in for the first time in Tokyo.
And one of them was actually a fish ramen, which is actually really, really rare to find in Japan.
Most ramen places are like pork only. But that that round of not true.
Not most ramen places. Most ramen places are pork only.
Yeah. There’s shio ramen. There’s miso ramen.
No. Yeah. But the base of the broth has pork everywhere.
All all three bases like shio ramen, shoyu ramen and tonkotsu ramen all have pork.
So that specific round of place was and he was like pretty hidden in the street.
The shop itself. Yeah.
OK. And then the second one was the one that I took you to. And that was really nice.
By the time that I took you, it was kind of different. It was more like me.
Oh, the little hole in the wall one that you when I went there for the first time, it was a real hole in the wall.
It was like I felt like when we went, it was still it was cleaner than I remember.
Oh, OK. OK. Anyway. Yeah. But there is anyways, there’s like four or five bar stools.
You sit directly in front of the kitchen and it’s a teeny tiny kitchen.
Nothing that we’re used to in the West. But that’s very typical to, you know, those kind of mom and pop shops in Japan.
Especially because there’s a lot of specialty restaurants rather than going to this big restaurant where you can order off of an extensive menu.
Yeah. You go to a shop because, you know, you have a hankering for ramen or sushi and you know that that’s what they specialize in.
That’s what you’re going to get. Yeah. And usually you find a store that makes something specific about the ramen that you like.
As I was mentioning before, ramen is very particular because 80 percent of the greatness of ramen is the broth.
So if you have great broth and may noodles and pork, it’s still pretty good ramen.
If you have great pork and I mean, the ingredients and noodles, but the broth is meh, that’s pretty meh ramen.
That’s so true. Pretty meh. It’s kind of like a waste of the ingredients. Yes. If you don’t nail the broth, don’t open a ramen shop.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, I felt like there were a couple of times where I felt like, wow, I need to drink the broth.
Otherwise, I felt like a lot of it was I mean, for health benefits to a lot of ramen broth.
Sorry, interruption by manager. Yeah. A lot of broth has so much sodium.
Yeah. And it’s a bit too or oil too. Yeah. It’s way too much to drink. But there’s been a couple of times where we had to drink that because it was just so delish.
Now, do you have some recommendations for listeners about ramen places where they have to have to go?
Well, OK, since you already mentioned it as one of the chain.
So since we already mentioned it, one of the chain restaurants, Ichiran Ramen, I felt was a bit expensive, but it was something that I needed to experience because you go in.
If you haven’t heard of the concept, you go in and you don’t interact with anyone like the people are behind these little like you said, at a stool.
And then the only thing you see is someone’s hands like taking your order and then bringing you your ramen bowl, hich is pretty different to what you usually experience when you go to a ramen place.
The cook is right there. He’s interacting with you. Sometimes he talks to you. You just print out your ticket or you get a ticket from the vending machine.
You punch in your order. You bring it. You slide it under the little sliding. I don’t know.
Yeah. The machine. No, no, no. There’s a little not a sliding door. The little sliding door.
Thank you. That you sit in front of. And then you just hear the person, you know, behind that door.
And after that, you get your delicious ramen. Well, guess what? That ramen has the most delicious broth.
One of the best broth ever, ever tasted down.
And it’s a little bit expensive, like for what it is, because you have to pay for extra toppings like an egg, for extra negi, green onion, what have you.
The noodles are really thin. So if that’s your vibe, great. Not my favorite kind of noodle.
I like the wavier type. But the broth. Oh, my God. Fantastic. Oh, so definitely recommend that one.
Would you agree? I agree. I think that the hype is worth like it is.
What is the word? Yeah, the hype is real. Yeah, it’s merited. Yeah. Yes.
And if you go to if you go to Japan and you want to get the hype is real.
If you go to Japan and you want to have some great ramen, you can go to Ichiran, you’re going to have a great, a great taste.
Oh, yeah. If you go to somewhere like Hokkaido, there are some amazing places over there.
They’re not the traditional, you know, the chain, but you will have some amazing ramen.
Just try to look for the many, many websites that recommend like, oh, go to this place.
These are the best eats in Hokkaido or yes.
Sapporo specifically. We just moseyed on down this.
I think no, I think we did go to a ramen lane or something like that in Hokkaido, which is northern Japan.
And we were seeking ramen. And there’s this I think there’s like this ramen or odori or something.
Yeah, there’s a ramen street. And there’s so many.
Yeah. There’s so many options. We just decided on one because we had to pick one.
Yeah. And then we ended up sitting in this teeny tiny little shop.
They’re all like right next to each other. Yeah. It’s really crazy. Yeah. It’s like boom, boom, boom.
You could have all the ramen you want. Yeah. Just right there. And we had we had such delicious seafood ramen.
I think we had crab ramen, right? I think you had. I had the ground beef ramen.
Spicy ground beef ramen. Oh, did you? OK, I thought we had seafood.
But yeah, I digress. That was some of the best ramen I’ve ever had.
And part of it was because it was a specialty there. And sometimes when you have a ramen craving.
Yeah. And you finally get it like I don’t crave ramen more than once a month.
But when I crave it, I crave it. I need it. I need it. Yeah. I need to inject that shit.
That being said, if you’re in the Arizona area, you go to some areas specifically.
Yeah. There are some really good places we’ve found that have great ramen that like we’ve been surprised.
Like, wow, this is pretty good. And we’ve eaten the original, the real stuff. They’re all downtown.
Not all of them. All of them. But what was the name of the place? The one downtown?
Yeah. That’s the name. The one downtown is called Obon.
And it is definitely not a ramen specialty shop. But man, they exceeded our expectation.
Yeah, they absolutely did. That was delicious ramen. Wow. Good job.
All right. So we got our manager here. He gave us some admonitions.
He was not happy with how we were just talking about ramen. And I think that we need to, you know, go to something else.
Because that’s not the only thing that we’ve cooked and we enjoyed.
OK. Have you ever heard of Ja Ja Me? Oh my God. Because that ain’t ramen. Oh my God.
Just don’t even bring that to me. That was probably OK.
Just like seriously, that was probably one of the best experiences I’ve had in Japan in terms of like eating food.
That was the first time Juan orgasm. Oh yeah. Wendy, like you should have seen my face when I ate it for the first time.
It was like, this is not real. It’s so good. It’s like, OK, do you give it some context?
It’s basically ramen noodles. No, it’s not ramen. It’s noodles. It’s udon noodles.
Yes. With a like almost black paste.
Yeah. It’s this paste made out of bean. Yeah. Like I think it’s some kind of soybean.
But the paste looks kind of suspicious. Yeah. It looks like it’s not something edible, but it is pretty delicious.
What would you describe the flavor of? It’s like nutty. Not earthy.
It’s a bit nutty. It’s a bit nutty with soy sauce. Yes.
The flavor is kind of like umami. Yeah. And whatever that means.
Savory. Yeah. Savory. That’s the Japanese word for savory. But in a very specific way.
Cucumber, because the noodles are it’s a cold dish. Yeah. And served with cucumber.
The paste. What else? It has it has some meat on it. I think it was ground meat.
Ground meat. Yeah. Was that in the paste or was that? No, it wasn’t in the paste.
It was separate. And the very interesting thing is that once you finish half of your of your dish, ike once you finish half of your noodles, then they take back the dish and then they pour the water where they cook the noodles in.
And also some eggs and hot water and the eggs will cook on the hot water on it.
And then they give it back to you. So you kind of enjoy a second version of the dish itself.
That’s right. I forgot about that. It’s an experience. You know, it’s pretty good. It’s like you get two meals in one.
Yes. That is so creative. Yeah. That’s why I had it twice. Like we were in Tohoku traveling to Tohoku.
We had a set number of meals that we could enjoy. I was like I’m going to have this twice. That’s how good it was.
Yeah, that’s not good. That’s not good in Japan. I’m like Rick. Yeah. You’re a bit burpy today. I am.
That’s how we love you. Oh, thanks. What else was extremely delicious for you?
Like what experience do you remember? Was it memorable to you? Oh, not just Japan, like somewhere else.
Because I think we talk too much about Japan. OK. Let us know in the email.
Don’t tell my grandma podcast at Do we talk too much about Japan? Like, guys, shut up about Japan already.
We know we’ve already been there. But if you want to know more, then you can always also let us know about that, too.
Let us know anything. OK. Something that’s memorable for me in my whole entire life.
You’ve been to Italy. You must have had some amazing food. Oh, my goodness. The most delicious.
That’s a delicious. OK, I would say that I failed at eating pasta in Italy because how do you feel eating pasta?
Because it was expensive. I was honest. So you didn’t eat it. That’s what you mean. I ate it.
But not even eat a good one. I don’t remember eating it at all. Were you a cheap girl when you were in Italy?
I mean, also, I knew we frequented the same places that we knew we love. Oh, because, you know.
Yeah, that’s how you shop. That’s how you feel. This little sandwich shop, though, right near the Duomo, the Duomo landmark.
There’s this sandwich shop and it’s very foreign or friendly.
But man, they make the most delicious sandwiches I’ve ever stinking had.
And we would go there at least once a week. Very affordable. Very delish. Wow. Very cool.
Very cool. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for the sandwich. Very cool. I was going to do it, but I just cannot.
Thank you for the sandwich. Very cool. Thank you, Kanye. The sandwich was very cool.
And then we went, OK, crossing the bridge to kind of the outskirts of Florence, where I studied abroad.
They had this gelato shop and the lines would be out the door every single day, every day, anytime, every day.
Wow. But the gelato there. Oh, my God. Wow. I’m not even a big ice cream person.
OK. Also, dairy intolerance. Yeah. So your words are even more heavy because of that.
Yes. Well, actually, and the way that they would serve it, they would swirl it.
A very beautiful swirl. Great. Great. You know what? You can definitely get a job in a food network.
I’m practicing. OK, is my first time. No, I should be a lot better than this.
OK, let’s let’s be honest here. We’ve had quite a little bit of wine. Oh, why? We’ve had a little bit of wine.
OK. The manager is telling us that we need to control ourself now.
Together, guys. Aside from that, we just had the most amazing banh mi sandwich.
Oh, not that we’ve never had banh mi, but oh, my God, it’s been so long.
And the simplicity. Yeah. Yeah. The arrangement of flavors in this one sandwich.
Oh, it was fantastic. Yeah. That’s that’s just that’s the only thing you can say.
If you’ve never had a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, please go get one.
Yeah. If you think if you like. Oh, no, I like Subway. They’re like good sandwiches.
Shut up. Shut. Get the hell out of here. You don’t know what good sandwiches are.
Go to a Thai place and order some banh mi. That’s going to rough your world.
You just said Thai place. It’s Vietnamese. Oh, I’m sorry. I’m going to edit that out.
No, you are not. I’m not. Juan has been OK.
He has been banned. He’s been banned. The manager is really looking at me in a very stern way.
He doesn’t trust you. I apologize to the Vietnamese community.
Banh mi is one of the most delicious dishes. I really love it. And thank you.
Anyway, I think the manager is telling us now that we’ve talked a lot about food today.
We have. Thank you so much for joining us. We have. Very random episode of the Don’t Tell My Grand podcast.
Hope you enjoyed it. Yes. We enjoyed ourselves.
We thought it would be a good time to record because we were just so drunk off of great food and we needed to share a little bit of our foodie diary with you.
If you want to know more about great food and just want to have a chat.
Or if you want to recommend to us. We’re in Arizona.
Yeah. Please let us know. Don’t tell my grand podcast at Also willing to travel for food.
Oh yes. Yes. Sorry to interrupt. That’s in the top like that’s at the top of the list of reasons to travel.
Oh yes. Oh yes. One day we’ll also continue talking about food and talk about the amazing food that we had in the yard.
We probably talked a little bit about it. But you know what? This is our podcast. We talk about whatever we want.
Anyway, we hope you have a great day. We love you and we’ll see you on the next episode.
Have something great to eat. Bye.

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