Friday, February 29, 2008


My favorite ramen place is Yotteko-Ya, a Japanese chain, but the inconvenience of flying to Japan or Hawaii for lunch has left me on a quest for a local substitute. Santa Ramen located in San Mateo is the current front runner. On a recent lunch visit, I had the pork ramen spicy and it is the closest I've gotten so far to the spicy paiten ramen at YY. The soup was creamy in appearance, yet had a deep pork flavor -- mixed with the spiciness it was better than any local ramen I've tried. Simple, no seafood undertones or other more complex flavors, but good never the less. My only regret was that there was not enough soup to accompany the large portion of noodles.

I also sampled the
soy sauce ramen soup which was much better than that at Halu and perhaps in competition with the soup at YY. The clear soup glistened from meat drippings with a meat rather than soy sauce flavor. Excellent.

The noodles themselves were on par with those at Halu, not as thick, but cooked more Japanese style (more chew and less softness). Though the portion of noodles was larger than normal, neither of us had trouble finishing everything. The pork or cha shu served on top of both bowls was thinly sliced and somewhat dry with very little fat. Definitely not as good as the pork at other ramen restaurants. With that minor demerit, Santa still rates as my current top pick for ramen in the bay area.

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