Ramen: There’s just something about a well-made Japanese noodle dish that provides food for the soul. It also has the side benefit of generally being easy on the wallet.
Here are my favorite places to get ramen:
- Katana-ya (San Francisco): http://www.yelp.com/biz/katana-ya-san-francisco: Affordable and really tasty, but long waiting times and finding parking may be difficult
- Orenchi Ramen (South Bay): http://www.orenchiramen.com/: One of the best in the Bay Area, really rich and savory broth, adding a runny egg makes it even better, but also long waiting times
- Ippudo (New York): http://www.ippudony.com: Not that I’ve been to many ramen places in New York, but this is the best by far. The quality is on par with Katana-ya and Orenchi. Very long lines during the busy lunch and dinner hours (e.g., up to an hour during the lunchtime rush), so it’s best to go off-hours.
- Daikokuya (Los Angeles) : http://www.daikoku-ten.com/: Most recently went on May 5, 2011. The line was as long as I remember it – the wait for two people to sit at the bar was over half an hour. I most recently got the tsukemen, which includes all the ingredients of the regular ramen, except the broth is brought in a separate bowl. That turned out to be a yummy way to eat the ramen. I also got the kotteri broth, which is thick and has pork fat added to it – reminded me of the Orenchi broth.
- A list of the top ramen places in San Francisco, from 7×7 magazine (lists Nombe, Izakaya Sozai, Chotto, Ken Ken, Saiwaii, Kirimachi and, last but not least, Katana-ya): http://www.7×7.com/eat-drink/top-seven-bowls-ramen-san-francisco