With hipster foodies of San Francisco fully embracing the supremacy of David Chang as the new prophet of the ramen renaissance, it is unfortunate that nothing in the Mission comes close to matching his delicious noodle compositions.
The Mission features several places that serve up an American version of the Japanesified version of noodle soup from China, better known as ramen.
Ken Ken Ramen:
Namu Gaji (Namu moved from it’s previous location way over in the Richmond to much hipper digs on 18th Street next to Bi-Rite Creamery and Dolores Park):
Nombe probably has my favorite ramen of the bunch. The restaurant has a cool feel, with a black and white Art Deco diner look going on. They have a great drink selection. They had some interesting beefy ramen (like oxtail), which were okay, but not stunning. It serves up a solid bowl, but didn’t knock our socks off.
Ken Ken Ramen was okay as well with a good soft boiled egg and nice fresh veggies. However, the chashu, broth, and noodles didn’t do anything for me. The broth was just sort of lacking in depth. The place was also a little smelly and humid, which although common in a small ramen shop, somehow didn’t fit with the rest of the hipster aesthetic, so it made for a somewhat unpleasant to be there.
Namu Gaji is a good restaurant, with an awesome bibimbap and usually a good selection of fresh pickles, but I also don’t really dig their ramen. They sort of make a big deal out of it and make only a few dozen bowls each day, but it was just okay.
So given that I’m not recommending any of these ramen places, where should you go for ramen while in SF? Well, you should really go down to the South Bay, down to the northern border of San Jose. However, if you are stuck in the city, maybe try Tanpopo. You might recognize the name from that all time great noodle-western Tampopo:
Any other good recommendations for ramen in San Francisco?