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Asari shio ramen @ Himawari, San Mateo

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Asari shio ramen @ Himawari, San Mateo

Melanie Wong | Jan 11, 2005 10:53 PM

Inspired by posts from KK and Wendy-san on the clam ramen at Himawari, William and I had lunch there last week.

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The special of the day happened to be tonkotsu ramen. I tried to sweet talk my brother into ordering it so that we could sample two things, but he wouldn't budge and we both ended up with the asari shio ramen (clam salt-flavored ramen).

Unlike the original version we had fallen in love with at Saratoga Tanto before the chef moved on, the broth here is pork-based and richly fatty. In the photo below, you can see the globules of pork fat floating on the surface near the rim of the bowl just below the spoon. It's also buttery and infused with lots of garlic. If you love linguine with clams, you'll like this too.

Noodles were better quality than when we'd tried it before. To me, they were just a little too soft, but William disagreed and said they were firm enough and just right for him. He did note that the clam flavor didn't seem to penetrate the noodles enough, and I thought that they might not have been cooked in salted water leaving them a bit bland.

Toppings were top notch. Five sweet, plump clams, freshly cut negi (green onions), slivers of white onion, and a fresh grind of aromatic black pepper on top that set everything off beautifully.

William had tried the kuro ramen at Maru-ichi recently, and I asked him which he preferred. We debated this for a bit, and he ended up ranking the kuro ramen higher because the broth was more flavorful and the noodles absorbed more of the taste. Ultimately, I ended up flip-flopping my rankings of Maru-ichi and Himawari once more. I rated Himawari higher because I loved the sleek balance of the broth's flavors, subtlety of the salting, better quality noodles, and the freshness of this offering.

PERSONAL RAMEN RANKINGS

1. Ramen Halu, San Jose
2. Santa, San Mateo
3.&4. Ryowa, Mountain View and Berkeley
5. Himawari, San Mateo
6. Maru Ichi, Mountain View
7. Tanto, Sunnyvale
8. Gen Ramen, Fremont
9. Masa’s Sushi, Mountain View
10.Tomoe, San Rafael
11.Do-Henkotsu, San Jose
12.Kaimuki Grill, San Mateo
13.Ramen Club, Burlingame
14.Sushi Bistro, San Francisco
15.Lakuni, San Mateo
16.Manpuku, Berkeley
17.Tanpopo, San Francisco
18.Suzu Noodle House, San Francisco
19.Oidon, San Mateo
20.Katanaya, El Cerrito
21.Sapporo-ya, San Francisco
22.Tokyo Ramen, Fremont
23.Hotei, San Francisco
24.Bear’s Ramen House, Berkeley

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