Sunday, May 17, 2015

Favorite Ramen in San Diego (and the best way to eat it)

I need to be careful about promoting "the best" ramen in San Diego because I haven't tried them all. I'd love to though. If I could stop everything and just eat ramen, I would die a happy person. Probably really fat, but happy. "Death by Ramen" on my tombstone wouldn't be the worst thing ever.

I've been eating ramen here since my college days. I didn't go to school in San Diego, but I had plenty of friends who did and these were our late night, early morning, heck, all day long meals. Ramen has suddenly become really popular, but these, my friends, are my tried-and-true favorite spots. Favorite for different reasons too.

1. Izakaya Masa in Mission Hills

Stepping into Izakaya Masa is like stepping back in time and into a small town Japanese restaurant. In fact, an izakaya (居酒屋) is a common kind of bar or restaurant in Japan known to serve food that complement drinks. Think tapas, but Japanese. Izakaya Masa has some of the best ramen I've ever had. It's not flashy. It's not a huge portion. It's just right.        

2. Tajima in Kearny Mesa

Tajima is bold. Some of their soups are thicker than most and definitely flavorful. For some reason, I particularly remember their noodles. I got the spicy tonkotsu ramen and the noodles were a lot thicker, almost meaty in texture. It was so delicious because the little curves and crevices in the noodles helped pick up more soup.

3. Santouka in Mitsuwa Market in Kearny Mesa

This place is so fun. It's in the middle of a Japanese supermarket and has a mall/food court feel to it. It totally feels like you're visiting Japan without leaving America (like that little guy to the left said). For $10-$12, you can get a great combo which includes your favorite kind of ramen and a Japanese side dish, like fish roe over rice or soy sauce soft-boiled egg.

If you're wondering how eat ramen, PLEASE watch this video. There's no wrong way to eat ramen, but there is a better way.

1) Don't take too long eating ramen (the noodles will expand)
2) SLURP! Like a good wine =)
3) Crack the poached egg half way in and savor it

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