The website, Foursquare, has released a state-by-state guide to America's best Ramen, and the Mecha Noodle Bar in Fairfield was chosen to represent the great state of Connecticut.

As a former college student, I know my way around a bowl of ramen. Actually, my love affair with ramen started back in high school, when the Top Ramen company got savvy with their marketing for Oodles of Noodles. What's not to love? It's cheap, it's ready in 3 minutes, and it's got 9,000,000 percent of your daily sodium requirement.

OK, I'm not THAT much of a neanderthal. Ramen is a very popular Japanese noodle soup, with only a passing resemblance to the instant stuff, about which I am waxing poetic. Ramen is very regionalized in Japan, with nearly every part of the country making it its own way. There's even a ramen museum in Yokohama, although you have to be able to read Japanese to read their website.

The Mecha Noodle Bar's slogan is "slurping encouraged." Their menu offers four different kinds of broth with many different toppings. The foursquare reviews are very enthusiastic. Apparently if you go there you should try the chili oil. Several reviewers made a point of talking about it.

I'm definitely planning a visit. In the meantime, I'll have to make do with a packet of the good stuff.

Tim Sheehan