Soup's On

PekoPeko Ramen opens in Charles Village.

Richard Gorelick - July 2017

Soup's On

PekoPeko Ramen opens in Charles Village.

Richard Gorelick - July 2017

The TanTan bowl. -Tom McCorkle

PekoPeko Ramen opened earlier this year in a fancy new student apartment building near The Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus. It appears to have caught on with not only undergraduates but with Charles Village residents, too.

I love ramen and I’m ready to defend it against claims that it’s just another food trend. Some things trend for good reason, and ramen is nourishing, fast, comforting, and filling. I wish there had been a ramen shop near my college campus. Ramen works very well as a group dining activity, but it’s also perfect for solo eating. The young owner of PekoPeko Ramen, Hopkins alumnus David Forster, knows this, and he’s outfitted PekoPeko with a spacious kitchen-front counter for single diners. (Extra credit is earned for the coat-and-bag hooks under the counter and for the numerous outlets for phone charging.)  


⇓ Article continues below ⇓

Forster lived from age 6 to 18 in Tokyo, one of the world’s great food cities, where he became enthralled with Japan’s ramen-shop culture, which has enormous youth appeal. Opening a noodle place near Hopkins, Forster says, felt like a winning idea.

And PekoPeko is a winning little restaurant, beginning with the uplifting interior space, which has the clean contemporary lines of a museum cafe. Music is played at comfortable levels, and the service is friendly and attentive.

The menu has been kept compact with a centerpiece of six ramen options. But it includes a few choices—rice bowls and appetizers—that will appeal to other folks. I really loved the Shaki Shaki salad—a cool, crunchy mix of napa cabbage—as well as the gyoza dumplings, plumply packed with minced pork, cabbage, and ginger. 

PekoPeko specializes in Tokyo-style ramen, notable for its use of long-simmering chicken broth as opposed to the pork broths seen elsewhere in the U.S. The particular broth specialty is the shoyu-style, which has a soy sauce base. This is the place to start at PekoPeko to discover how well-executed the ramen is here. 

You can see the care that’s gone into preparing the scallion, seaweed, and bean sprouts, and you can taste the deep flavor that comes from hours of simmering. But do move on to the TanTan bowl, with its aromatic broth of garlic oil, spicy chili sesame sauce, and ginger. 

A few things to know: PekoPeko is pronounced to rhyme with gecko-gecko. The name is a kind of onomatopoeic phrase roughly meaning “grumbling stomach,” according to Forster. Also, PekoPeko doesn’t take cash.  


›› PekoPeko Ramen 7 E. 33rd St., 410-635-1216. Hours: Tue.-Sun. 11 a.m. to midnight. Appetizers: $4-8; entrees: $10-13; desserts: $2-6. 





You May Also Like


In Good Taste

Best Places to Celebrate National Hot Dog Day

Beef up your day with an all-American classic.

In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Checkerspot Brewing; National Rosé Day; Bill Bateman's

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

Food & Drink

A Day in Annapolis

Just a stone’s throw from Baltimore, our state capital is a great day trip getaway for everything.


The Chatter

Red Emma’s Moving to Former Spike & Charlie's Space in Mt. Vernon

Radical bookstore coffeehouse to move to expanded location later this summer.

Food & Drink

Review: Gordon Ramsay Steak

Gordon Ramsay opens his first East Coast steakhouse at the Horseshoe Casino.


The TanTan bowl. -Tom McCorkle

Connect With Us

Most Read


Are Two Flaccos Better Than One?: Joe Flacco's brother, Tom, transfers to Towson University.

What Art Installations Not to Miss at Artscape 2018: Visual artists add their magic to the festivities with interactive pieces.

Food Inspection Discussion Ramps Up Following Viral Rat Videos: Community weighs in on procedures to prevent future infestations.

False Claims of Kinderman Passing Leads to Outpouring of Love: Beloved child entertainer John “Kinderman” Taylor is alive and accepting cards in hospice.

Under Armour’s New YouTube Series Highlights Baltimore’s Basketball Scene: The four-episode series follows the culture within the city courts.