Fast Food

De Pere’s Eat30 Cafe elevates the art of ramen

By Josh Koerner

Ramen noodles have cemented themselves in American culture as a go-to for debt-addled college students looking for a cheap, easy and filling meal.

But choking down a dozen or so packages of Maruchan from a dorm room microwave is nothing compared to the real deal.

Chicken Pad Thai

Luckily for De Pere’s college students and other residents alike, a well-dressed bowl of noodle soup lies just a short jaunt across the Main Street Bridge.

Among the strip of businesses that line North Broadway lies a humble noodle shop named Eat30 Cafe.

Representing a small slice of the Thai food culture that Green Bay has come to enjoy, Eat30 offers pho, pad thai and papaya salad alongside six distinct variations on the iconic Chinese noodle soup.

While I still have a bit to go before I’ve seen everything they have to offer, I feel like I’ve at least dipped my toes in enough to get a good feel for their menu.

The pad thai at Eat30 Cafe plays heavily into the tamarind sauce that gives the dish its sweetness.

I could see this flavor interaction being favorable perhaps, as an accompaniment to shrimp or beef, but I did not find it enjoyable with chicken

Taking a stroll up to Vietnamese comfort food, the pho broth leans into the heavy aromatic flavor of star anise, pairing nicely with the addition of Thai basil and offsetting the saltiness of the thin beef and hearty meatballs.

In my opinion, it’s worth upgrading to the fancier “Eat30 Pho” bowl to get a bit of additional sweetness from some shrimp and a few slices of crisp, decadent pork belly.

In the ramen department

Spicy Ramen

My attention, instead, was immediately drawn to the spicy and volcano ramen variants.

Scallions and corn make a nice contrast to the spicy pork broth, but beyond that, the spicy ramen comes across as a bit plain.

If spicy is your go-to, I recommend kicking up your experience with the fire or ghost flavor options.
The base spicy ramen, to me, was more of a mild to medium spice level.

The volcano ramen blends in a nice garlic flavor that further curbs the spice, but does well to compliment the ground pork.

Additionally, the bean sprouts and ear wood mushrooms add sweet and savory elements that create a more balanced flavor experience.

On the subject of complimentary flavors, the vegetable miso presently stands as my second favorite ramen dish available from Eat30.

It may be unexpected for a veggie dish to take you to that perfect comfort-food realm, but the sweet and savory balancing act this soup plays fits the bill swimmingly.

The broth takes its flavor from the miso, a fermented bean paste with soy origins.

The changes the bean undergoes leave a rich, salty-sweet mushroom flavor that every element of the ramen dish plays on.

While sweet corn and scallions accent the sweeter tones, deep-fried tofu chunks and sesame serve to amplify the salty, savory flavors.

Finally, the soft-boiled egg serves to accent the broth’s deeper, rich tones.

The dish comes together wonderfully.

And finally, my favorite ramen thus far has been the curry.

With a familiar coconut curry broth that gives flavor to Thai and Laotian favorites like tom kha and had poon, this ramen builds with savoy cabbage, delicious chashu pork strips, and the familiar accompaniments of the previous dishes including corn, scallions, sesame, fish cake, and nori.

For me, there is just something special about the way a dish comes together in that sweet curry broth.
This one is a bucket list ramen for sure!

In summary: Eat30 Cafe is a fantastic way to enjoy some of the prized noodle soups of the Far East.
As De Pere’s premier source of Thai and Vietnamese food, it’s a great choice if you’re in the market for a decent bowl of pho, a plate of raw laab or a solid papaya salad.

Beyond their more unique offerings, they serve up many varieties of ramen soup — including a banging curry option that can’t be beat.

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