Most people have stomached instant ramen—you know, the stuff in a Styrofoam cup without an expiration date in sight—at least once in their lifetime. Some have even had the gourmet stuff—what’s sometimes served at high-end Asian eateries. But very few have experienced what they’re serving at Mister Lee’s Noodles, which is, essentially, Ramen Funnel Cake. They call it Cody’s Crunch, with the description: “Japanese ramen meets funnel cake.” Add some seasonal, homemade duck sauce and powdered sugar, and that’s exactly what you get.
Mister Lee’s Noodles, the brainchild of Lee Chizmar and Erin Shea of Bolete, serves every kind of gourmet ramen under the sun. From hot options like the classic “Mister Lee’s Noodles,” made up of mushroom-dashi, chashu, the 60-minute egg, soy, mushrooms and local greens, to the cold options like “The Green Machine,” consisting of ramen, marinated tofu, shiitakes, seaweed and sesame-soy vinaigrette, there’s no shortage of inventive options to choose from. They even offer gluten-free rice noodles and soy sauces, and other celiac-friendly dishes.
So, how did ramen funnel cake make its way into the mix?
Sous Chef Cody Rohrbach is the mastermind behind “Cody’s Crunch,” though he takes no credit for the name. Rohrbach had always wanted to try a funnel cake when he was doing pastry work at Bolete, but the rapid cooking schedule using up the fryer’s time was not conducive. One day, Rohrbach was messing around with the pulp left over from the fresh fruits—all from Scholl Orchards—used in Mister Lee’s lemonade, and he ended up with a heap of duck sauce. When his gaze met the fryer, it hit him: funnel cake. Rohrbach threw some ramen in the fryer, created a big mess, dumped some duck sauce on top and ended up with a masterpiece.
“Chef and I really love the area’s food,” he says, referring to Chizmar. “It’s beautifully simple and you can work it into any cuisine.” This love is evident by the Pennsylvania Dutch Ramen option on the menu, consisting of beef-mustard dashi, pastrami, sauerkraut, caramelized onions, braised kale, that 60-minute egg and pickled onions, as well as the side cucumber salad, which also receives Cody’s name as a prelude.
325 Northampton St., Easton | 610.829.2799 | misterleesnoodles.com