Reren Lamen’s name is not some kind of racist joke about confusing Ls and Rs. Lamen, if you did not know (I didn’t) is the Chinese equivalent of ramen and is Reren’s specialty. Reren holds the distinction of being one of the few Chinese restaurants left in DC’s Chinatown, a shell of its former self, that is both good and authentic. While lamen is the main attraction, Reren offers a wide selection of food and drink options, including bubble tea, baijiu and pork xiao long bao (Shanghainese soup dumplings). Since xiao long bao are one of my favorite foods and are hard to find in DC, I had to try them. They were flavorful, though a bit too small and contained too little soup to be truly great xiao long bao. They’ll work to satisfy a craving, but it’s still work trekking out to Rockville for places that specialize in them. As for the lamen, I ordered the signature lamen with pork belly and a tea egg. While I certainly enjoyed it, it had less of that strong umami flavor than Japanese ramen at the likes of Sakuramen or Bantam King and the pork belly was not as tender as pork belly at other spots, like Purple Patch. Nonetheless, it was overall an enjoyable meal and Reren Lamen remains a bright spot in DC’s otherwise fairly bleak Chinese food scene.
Reren Lamen is located at 817 7th St NW.