Tagged: Ramen

Sep 04

Ramen Time at Waraku

There are so many ramen joints in the Bay Area! But the one I’ve been enjoying lately is Waraku located in the Japantown in San Francisco. I’ve been there a few times and have tried the warm comforting bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen served with house made tonkotsu broth base, chashu pork, green onions, bamboo shoots, kikurage-mushrooms, bean sprouts and smoked egg! But I have to admit, I really love slurping the Tsukemen, served with a really rich and warm house made tonkotsu and fish base broth and served with all the same accompaniments as the Tonkotsu Ramen. The only difference is that you dip the ramen and accompaniments into the rich broth. And of course I also love to add the tender Braised Pork Belly, the sweet soy sauce flavor is so addicting! If you are in the area, give this place a try!

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Nov 05

Ramen Parlor: Rich and Creamy

If you have waited in the long lines for Santa Ramen and Ramen Dojo, you will want to try Ramen Parlor, the third ramen joint by the same chef/owner, Kazunori Kobayashi. It couldn’t have opened at a better time, the freezing cold weather has arrived to the Bay Area and all we want is a warm bowl of hot ramen!  Then again, who am I kidding,  I would find any excuse to have ramen.  Ramen Parlor is actually only half a block from Ramen Dojo and we saw the long lines forming at Ramen Dojo.  It was a Friday night at 6:30pm, and there was NO line at Ramen Parlor, yes I repeat…no line, we were seated right away. But I must say that by 7:30pm, there was a short queue forming.

When one opens a third restaurant, you would think that it may be similar to the other two. Wrong…Ramen Parlor offers it’s own unique twist, a rich and heavier soup enhanced by the lobster oil! This location also offers more appetizers, even yakitori! However,  I am not sure if all the appetizers are offered during lunch. We ordered off their ‘Today’s Special’ menu and got the crunchy Deep Fried Chicken Cartilage and fatty Basa Fish with Garlic Butter yakitori! Yummy!

We both ordered the Ramen with Pork Flavor and Lobster Oil served with Roasted Pork, one Garlic Shrimp, Quail Egg, Green Chives, Ground Chicken, Brocollini and Black Sesame Powder.  The only difference is that I added the huge chunk of Stewed Spare Rib in mine, which was a great recommendation from a new fan! (Thanks fan!) I thought that the sweet marinated Stewed Spare Rib would have bones, but it was boneless with lots of crunchy tendons!  The soup was rich and creamy, make sure you mix the lobster oil into the base so that it doesn’t seem so oily! What can I say, the owner has done it again!

If you want light, go to Santa Ramen…if you want spicy, go to Ramen Dojo…if you want rich, go to Ramen Parlor!

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Jul 09

Tonkotsu Me at Saiwaii Ramen

We always have to give ramen joints a try. They last two places we tried were Ajisen Ramen and Ramen Doraku, and the ramen at both were horrible! Let’s put it this way,  I didn’t even finish the bowl of ramen while eating at both and I hate wasting food! Anyhow, due to my bad ramen experiences, I was a bit reluctant to try Saiwaii Ramen, but since a few people recommended it, I had to try it!  I have to face the fact that I will never have the flavorful ramen I had in Japan in San Francisco.

We went to Saiwaii Ramen with an open mind. We started with the Kobe Beef Salad, featuring slices of lightly grilled fatty and tender Kobe Beef, on top of the spring salad and onions, with a hint of ginger. Yum, yum, yum…I highly recommend this if you go! Since they offer combination meals with the ramen, we added the Spicy Tuna Don, it was not the best, but it was not bad either, it was a nice cold side dish.  And then our ramens…my hubby ordered the Tonkotsu and I ordered the Spicy Garlic Tonkotsu. Both tonkotsu were served with chashu, bamboo shoots, seaweed, green onion and kikurage (also known to us Chinese as ‘wood ear’). We both added the Pork Belly, I didn’t realize that I forgot to add the Egg until I was halfway done! I heard their egg is marinated in soy sauce and the yolk is runny, I will have to try it next time.

The outcome? The Tonkotsu (non-spicy) was milky and flavorful. I then tried my Mild Spicy Garlic Tonkotsu, oh yeah, this is what I’m talking about, it was very flavorful and the spice was perfect, not spicy to the point where I couldn’t taste my food. The ramen was actually good too, the texture was crunchy chewy, it didn’t get soggy right away. The soy sauce Pork Belly was extremely fatty and the fatty part melted like butter, but I do have to say that the meaty part of it was not that tender.

 

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Mar 06

An Unexpected Find, Ramen at Oidon

Okay okay, we decided to go to Ramen Dojo again, and again, there were about 15 people ahead of us! It’s unbelievable how busy this place is! Anyways, we left and decided to try something new, we were yelping in the car and as we made a decision and  began walking to the restaurant, we noticed Oidon so we stopped to look at the photos, they have ramen, udon and champon! So, why not, we decided to give this place a try!  It’s located upstairs, very small, plain, and not busy at all, there were a total of 4 people dining in the restaurant.  I got the Tonkotsu Ramen, the hubby got the Chicken Karaage with Soy Ramen and we also ordered a Takoyaki. One thing about this place, they do not serve stewed pork, so don’t expect to have it. After we sat, they gave us a small bowl of Edamame. I couldn’t help but think how other restaurants would have charged me for a bowl of Edamame, so it was a nice touch to get it complimentary.  After we ordered, we  checked yelp again and that’s when we realized they were known for their Champon, but it was too late, we already ordered.

We got our big bowls of ramen and YUMMY, to our surprise they were very good! Both of ours were flavorful, the ramen and the soup base was good!  My Tonkotsu had cha shu, bean sprouts and bamboo shoots. My hubby’s Chicken Karaage with Soy had the Shoyu soup base with Chicken Karaage, the pieces were huge but were not fried well, even though they tasted good the batter fell apart fast!  The Takoyaki had too much batter and not enough Tako (Octopus). One thing people must realize is that my hubby and I always compare our ramens to the ramens we’ve had in Japan, and then we compare it to the ramens we’ve had in the States. Of course places are never as good as Japan, but this place is not bad, it is pretty good. The other plus side is that there was no long wait and they didn’t charge us an arm and a leg for add-on’s, everything you would want is already in the bowl! However, I think that I should start carrying fried garlic in my purse, it’s definitely a flavor missing in my ramens. We will definitely return to Oidon, I’ll have to try the Champon next!  One thing I did just learn, they are not opened for dinner, so lunch only!

Oh, and one more plus about this restaurant, they have a great Japanese market located just downstairs, the Suruki Supermarket.  They had so many Japanese products as well as prepackaged cooked cuisines and fresh sashimi! Don’t think I left the market empty handed!

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Nov 22

Ramen from Japan

When I was in Japan, I had to eat the heavenly ramen! When people tell you that the ramen in Japan is hella good, they are not lying, it is seriously the best ramen you’ll ever eat!   (And yes, I used the word ‘hella’)  So while I was at the Kyoto Isetan, on the restaurant floor that has about 7 ramen restaurants, I bought a box of ramen at one of the restaurants. Believe or not, the packaged soup base tasted better than some of the ramen restaurants in the Bay Area! Since it was about to expire, we had an excuse on a cold rainy night to slurp a hot bowl of ramen, I’m just sad that it was the last bit of it!  If you are in Japan, buy yourself some ramen home, you won’t regret it!

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Oct 16

Yummy Ramen at Himawari

Okay, I have to admit, I went to Ramen Dojo first, but the line was so long and we were sooo hungry,  so we left and went to Himawari.  My hubby tried this restaurant with a friend and told me that it was pretty good, so hey, what the heck, why not give it a try! When we got there, there was no line, given that it was still 6:30pm on a Saturday so we were still pretty early. Just so you know, there was a line at about 7:00pm. Having a bowl of ramen was taking a chance for me, I just got back from Japan where I had the best ramen on earth, so yes, I honestly didn’t expect too much.

We ordered a tuna poke appetizer and we both ordered the Tonkotsu Deluxe Ramen which was the pork flavored ramen with stewed pork, sliced roasted pork and egg. I found their menu inclusions and prices a bit odd, not because I was being cheap or anything, but this Tonkotsu Deluxe Ramen was the most expensive bowl of ramen, yet, they make you add 50 cents for the egg noodles  instead of thin noodles. What the hell are thin noodles anyways, everything else came with ramen noodles?! And yes, of course I had to add the egg noodles. And, the inclusions for all their regular menus came with bamboo stems  but why is it that the Tonkotsu Deluxe Ramen didn’t and I had to pay another $1.00 more to add the bamboo stems. This was all so strange to me! Again, not because I was being cheap, but I did feel like I was paying additional for things that were included with the regular ramen options.

Anyhow, besides all this, our tuna poke was really tasty, served with onions,  soy sauce, sesame oil, some greens and capers. It came the same time as our ramen, which kind of sucked cause we were trying to eat the tuna poke while making sure our ramen noodles didn’t get all soaked and thick. But, besides this, I thought the bowl of ramen was wonderful, I was super impressed by the soup and the ingredients, especially the stewed pork and egg. Usually, the egg is pretty much fully cooked at most ramen joints, but Himawari actually served the egg soft cooked! They also offered fried garlic on the dining tables, and adding this definitely made it taste even better!  So although the price is odd, and although they served us the appetizer and ramen at the same time, I will definitely be going back to Himawari for their bowl of Tonkotsu Deluxe Ramen!  Afterall, it’s all about the food.

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Aug 23

Spicy Ramen at Ramen Dojo

I’ve been meaning to try Ramen Dojo, sounds like the new ramen place to be! It’s actually at the old Santa Ramen location, and I think it’s actually the same owner as Santa Ramen too, but I’m not definitely sure, it’s just what I heard.  It’s funny to be back at the old Santa location, they’ve done a great job transforming the tiny space with new furnishing. When we got there, there was a short line and we sat at the bar, lucky for us, there were only two of us so we were easy to accommodate. During our meal, the place was full the entire time and when we left, there were lots of people waiting outside. So it’s pretty apparent that this place is busy!

They specialize in Spicy Ramens, offering Spicy Soy Sauce Flavor, Spicy Garlic Pork Flavor and Spicy Soy Bean Flavor. When you order, you may select Mild, Regular and Extra Spicy. All the Ramens are served with Roasted Pork, Fried Whole Garlics, Kikurage Mushrooms, Fresh Green Chives and 1 Small Quail Egg.  They also have an assortment of appetizers. We saw someone sitting next to us eating something that looked really good, turned out to be Fried Oysters so we had to order one too!  We both ordered the Spicy Garlic Pork Flavor Ramen in Regular Spicy with Extra Ramen. I have to admit, I have never ordered a ramen at Santa’s with the regular serving, I always order it with extra ramen. I have no idea how much ramen is even served in the regular order.  Since I was starving, I just had to continue the tradition, extra noodles please!

We got our fried oysters first and they were damn good, the batter was perfect and the oysters were delicious! We then got our spicy ramen, we didn’t know what to expect but we were served a very pretty bowl of ramen. And wow, it was spicy, I think we will order the mild spicy next time! But most importantly, the ramen noodles were REALLY good, they were so fresh and every bite was crunchy, we loved it! At first we weren’t sure why they served this with chives, turns out this ingredient balanced the spice just right! I was also very surprised with how tender and tasty the roasted pork was, I’m usually not a huge fan because most places serve dry pieces.  I can’t wait to return for my next ramen fix!

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Jul 03

Yummy Ramen at Katana-Ya

I know that there are mixed reviews about the ramen at Katana-Ya , but I personally enjoy this place! The only downside is the line. Since we were downtown catching a movie, we wanted to stay downtown for dinner and Katana-Ya was a great choice since it’s closes late.  Plus, we thought a warm bowl of ramen would be great for a chilly night. When we got there around 9:30pm, there was still a line, but we were hungry and craving it so we decided to wait. It’s a VERY small place, so don’t even think about bringing more than a group of 5 people, you will wait forever! We learned from a friend from our first time here that the Toro was really good, and it was.  So this time, we decided to see if they had Toro Nigiri again, and they did, so I was super happy cause I couldn’t wait to eat all that fatty goodness! And of course, we also ordered my favorite Uni Nigiri! And both of these were extremely fresh and delicious. If I didn’t order my big bowl of Deep Fried Chicken Ramen with Miso soup, I probably could have ordered more Nigiri! Until next time…..we shall meet again!

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