Yokohama Iekei Ramen, Union City, CA
August 24, 2014
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Yokohama Iekei Ramen in Union City, CA was the very tasty destination today. It’s located in a shopping plaza along Alvarado Blvd with an eclectic mix of other shops. There is a Filipino pork restaurant, a Chinese Calamari restaurant, a South Asian grocery market, and a bunch of other interesting shops including physician’s office all in the same plaza.
The ramen restaurant itself was pleasant and low key. Seating was a mix of benches along the sides, wooden chair and even padded metal folding chairs. There were some Japanese decorations, including a picture of Yokohama train station. It was a comfortable and friendly, yet very casual atmosphere; well ventilated.
Pictured is the shio ramen. The ramen broth was delicious. The “classic” shoyu broth version looked very similar overall, although slightly darker. The shio broth had a nice light flavor, with clam and yuzu. Overall quite good. The shoyu broth was quite a bit smokier. On the menu they also and a blackened garlic broth as well as several different spicy variants which seemed to be a specialty of the shop. The add-ins were good; the chashu was delicious. The veggies were all good. The egg was nicely soft-boiled and then marinated. The kikurage mushrooms had a nice flavor and texture. We were given some options for noodle chewiness; I went with “regular”. The noodles were definitely fresh tasting with a nice chewiness and flavor. They were thicker than what I favor, but that is just personal preference, and overall they were quite good.
We ordered a side dish of pickled vegetables, which turned out to be a bowl of shibazuke. Shibazuke is the bright purple mix of cucumber and eggplant flavored with shio leaves, ume vinegar and ginger. It’s a very common pickle, but I was hoping for a bit more a mix perhaps of pickles.
The appetizer and side dish menu was extensive. We tried the miso butter corn, definitely a Hokkaido type dish. It was good, if a bit sweet for my taste. Might be a good addition to a miso broth ramen as a topping. Lots of other delicious things on the menu would warrant and return visit.
A nice touch is that the beer (Sapporo) came in a frosted mug. There was a nice assortment of ramen condiments on the table. These included a nice grinder for sesame seeds and kosho white pepper & garlic powder mix. Overall a nice touch.
Overall, a nice place, worth a visit for some tasty ramen.