So the story starts in Martinsburg, WV on an overcast Friday afternoon. I loaded up a recently purchased HD Softail Deuce and headed out west for a bowl of ramen and some WVU football. This of course would be no big deal, except about 15 miles from home it starts raining. I was hoping I could beat it, but the odds definitely fell against me. So after pulling over and putting on the rain jacket, I resumed putting along in the rain hoping that it would subside and I would miss the rest of the showers. It cleared for a few miles until I hit the scenic Sideling hill where I stopped at the rest station to take some photos. I pulled the camera out, excited to get some photographs of the amazing mountain scenery, flipped on the power switch, and saw, “no card”, prominently displayed on the rear LCD. FML.

So I loaded back up one more time and headed West with the hopes that the rain would remain away. About 5 seconds later, it started again and I did the only thing I could think of, hold on for dear life and keep going. This was the case for most of my trip. About 30 miles outside of Morgantown, it finally stopped raining and I got to dry out before reaching Morgantown and finding an Office Depot that had two $40 CF II memory cards stocked on the shelf.

Onto the meat and potatoes, or is that noodles and broth?

This is my second trip to Yama. I love ramen and even being so close to DC and Baltimore, most of the Asian soup restaurants are pho restaurants. They’re like the joke of Starbucks being on every corner. So imagine my surprise when a random Google search turned up a ramen restaurant in Morgantown, WV of all places.

So the first impressions you get when seeing Yama is that it’s the epitome of hole in the wall restaurants. It’s on a side street in downtown Morgantown. There’s a door and a window on it’s store front. If it wasn’t for the window, it might actually be a hole in the wall. If it wasn’t for the wooden sign that practically blends into the wall, you’d completely miss it.

On stepping inside you see table and chairs that belong in a college cafeteria. The owner is in the back cooking, where you can see him through a cutout in the wall and a woman works up front to take your order. Place the order, seat yourself, and not much later, your food is brought to you.

I ordered the pork gyoza, shoyu ramen, and an iced green tea to wash it down with. The iced green tea looks like it’s fresh brewed and tasted like a normal iced green tea should. I’m somewhat of a tea drinker, so I can tell you is wasn’t a dragon well or a jade fire, but it was completely acceptable.

The pork gyoza is fried and served with a thin dark sauce. The gyoza is very crisp and flavorful and is good as gyoza goes, but once you combine it with the sauce, it’s just an umami party in your mouth. The sauce is a tangy slightly sour sauce with the consistency of soy sauce but without the saltiness. It’s a perfect pairing for the gyoza. Once I finished devouring the gyoza, it was onto the ramen…

The ramen was shoyu ramen, which has broth made with soy sauce. It’s a dark savory soup that’s big on flavor. This was topped with what appeared to be two types of seaweed, fake crab, and a slice of beef. The noodles, which although I suspected them of not being freshly made, where good. They were the perfect texture and not over cooked or under cooked. The seaweeds and the fake crab made an excellent addition, but the real start was the broth. I couldn’t get enough. In fact, I though about seeing if I could get a to go cup and more broth for later, it was absolutely perfect.

Would I recommend you go to Yama in the hills of Morgantown, WV for an excellent bowl of ramen? Yes. What about a 300 mile round trip filled with rain, football, and drunken college students? Of course! If you ever find yourself in the area, be sure and check this gem of a hidden restaurant out.

The things I’ll do for a bowl of ramen…

Location: Yama Japanese Restaurant