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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This Week's Review: Ramen Ramen Ramen

Posted By on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Saiwaii's tonkotsu ramen. - LARA HATA
  • Lara Hata
  • Saiwaii's tonkotsu ramen.

This week's ramen roundup involved slurping miles of noodles and gallons of pork-bone broth ― that is to say, it was a pleasure to research. When I moved back to San Francisco from Seattle in January, it puzzled me to see how diffidently ramen was talked about here, given the well-developed noodle-geek circles that have emerged in other parts of the country, including a few miles south on 101. Then more places started appearing. And I started hearing more and more comparative judgments of the new shops' tonkotsu (pork-bone) broths.

I don't know that S.F. will ever rival San Jose for the diversity and quality of our ramen shops, but when this city is late to a trend, we catch up quickly. San Francisco is insular and picky enough that when we grab onto something that interests us ― cocktails, coffee, and, duh, pizza come to mind ― we hammer away at it until we bring the quality up to our exacting standards. I'm hoping that ramen is one of those trends.

Most times, when I finish a roundup review I have to fight off cravings for the thing I just

overconsumed (the week after last spring's hot dog piece was brutal). This week, I'm so porked out ― a dark place I

thought my soul would never reach ― I've been craving the lighter ramen styles. I

went back to Sawaii on the night I was writing this piece, for instance, and had a fine shio ramen, and I'll

be interested to try the nonconventional broths Hapa Ramen is said

to be working on (Duck? Yeah, duck). And it's about time for Ken Ken

Ramen, the popup restaurant whose shoyu and miso broths were beginning to catch a buzz before it lost its space, to find a new host. Hop to it, guys.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman


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