Swoon: Yujo Ramen

Yujo Ramen dish
Slurp’s Up

Tony Valainis

“Umami synergy.”

That’s how chef/owner Paul Yu describes what he’s going for at Yujo (9431 N. Meridian St.), the ramen restaurant he opened in September. Umami is the Japanese word for the “fifth taste” your tongue detects, alongside salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. It’s intensely savory, and loosely translates to “deliciousness” in English. Yu shoots for this synergy with the five components of ramen, including noodles, broth, oil, tare (the secret sauce that brings saltiness to the dish), and toppings like soft-boiled eggs and braised pork. Carmel-born, Chef’s Academy–trained Yu knew he wanted to run his own ramen shop after he helped open local favorite Ramen Ray in 2016, watching lines form around the building from day one. Last year, he went to ramen school in Japan to deepen his understanding of the dish and fine-tune his technique.