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Posts tagged ramen



Very close to Osaka Castle is where I found the ramen shop featured in today’s photo. All of the employees, and most of the customers, were female–odd for a ramen restaurant in Japan.

Ramen Parlor

 ramen parlor san mateo tonkotsu white pork

Tonkotsu White Bowl @ Ramen Parlor (San Mateo, California)

About six months ago I enjoyed a fantastic bowl of ramen at Ramen Parlor when I was in the San Francisco Bay Area. Today I went there again and came away a bit disappointed. I asked for mild spice and the bowl was very spicey. If I ever go there again I’ll go with no spice. The spice is on the table so you can add as little as you want rather than risk someone in the back putting way too much on.

Hiroshima’s ramen alley

hiroshima ramen seven lucky gods らーめん横丁 七福人 大豊

らーめん横丁 七福人 大豊

While looking for Koba, I stumbled upon this alley filled with ramen shops. I passed on them at the moment with the intent of going back if I couldn’t find Koba. However, I found Koba, ate there, and so ramen of the Seven Lucky Gods will have to wait for another trip.

Ramen for breakfast

 hakata ramen fukuoka

Hakata ramen (Fukuoka, Japan)

My first morning in Japan in almost three years and I found myself jet-lagged, hungry, and roaming empty streets. When this “morning ramen” (朝ラーメン) sign caught my eye I instantly knew what I was having for breakfast. At just 290 yen (about $3) I wasn’t expecting greatness, but I didn’t care.

hakata morning ramen fukuoka


Tonkotsu ramen is about my favorite kind (after Matador’s beef variety), and Hakata ramen is basically synanomous with tonkotsu. Is there a difference? I’m not sure. Let me know with a comment if tonkotsu doesn’t equal Hakata-style ramen. Anyway, I was literally in Hakata so this bowl made perfect sense.

Most ramen places have you pre-pay through a vending machine. Not so here. Partially because of that, and perhaps because I was jet-lagged, I accidentally forgot to pay until I was at the door leaving. The poor girl behind the counter was probably sweating bullets that this strange foreigner was going to stiff her for 290 yen.

Best ramen in the USA

orenchi ramen santa clara

Tonkotsu Orenchi Ramen (俺ん家らーめん) Santa Clara, California

We have no ramen shops in Southern Oregon. There are a few restaurants that sell ramen, but none of them are good. So when we get out of Southern Oregon we like to look for ramen. While in Santa Clara we decided to go to the #1-ranked ramen in the South Bay.

We had time to kill as the shop didn’t open until 5 p.m. We decided to find the place first and then browse shops nearby. However, when we got there at 4:20, there was already a line of about 30 people! I felt like I was at a popular ramen shop in Japan. We put our names on the list. By the time the shop opened 40 minutes later there were well over 100 people, and the place only holds about 50 or 60 people.

I’ve sampled dozens of bowls in Japan and about a dozen in the U.S., and this was the best ramen I have had outside of Japan. I had the tonkotsu (pork broth) bowl, pictured above, and Ellie had the shio (salt broth–photo coming soon).

The wait was well worth it. Word to the wise, if you are ever in the San Jose area, check this place out, but be sure to get there at least 20 minutes before they open. If you get there after that you probably won’t make the first seating which means you’ll likely be waiting an hour or more. Also, once they run out of soup they close so you may not get any (or your choice may be gone) if you show up after the first couple hundred people.

Baseball ramen

ramen sign hiroshima carp kan otake

こってり 牛すじラーメン

Beef based ramen recommended by Kan Otake (大竹寛) of the Hiroshima Carp? Not for me on an extremely hot and humid summer day. In the winter or in an air conditioned restaurant, with freshly made ingredients, and I wouldn’t be able to pass this up.

BTW, koi (鯉) means carp in Japanese. KoiCourt is the food court at the stadium of the Hiroshima Carp.