yesterday i was strolling through the neighborhood with two friends . on 22nd st i noticed a red paper ramen lantern hanging outside of panchita's #3. curious, we walked up and saw menus in the window advertising $11 bowls of ramen available only on sundays.
i've since done some research and i guess this pop-up ramen joint is called ken ken ramen, although there was no such name on the menus. they just said "ramen." and i guess that this was previously open only on mondays, but they've switched to sundays.
i ordered the shio broth, described as okinawan flavored. my friends each got miso ramen. they got theirs without meat, but mine came with three slightly thick, fairly tender and moist slices of cha-su pork shoulder, bamboo shoots, scallions, bean sprouts, and soft boiled marinated egg. saw some images online where the bowls come with mizuna, nori, and kamaboko, but ours didn't. although they were listed on the menu under "extras" for an additional $3. so altogether, not the cheapest bowl around...BUT i it was actually pretty decent.
well, i wish i had ordered the miso ramen, as a spoonful of my friend's broth revealed it to be more complex and generally more delicious. my shio broth tasted fine, if a bit light. it tasted mostly of chicken, and i was expecting pork notes. the noodles were fairly firm and stayed so, and the marinated soft egg was a textural delight, after too many green tinged overboiled eggs in SF. bamboo shoots seemed more generic than the photos of long, young whole shoots in photos on yelp. bean sprouts are bean sprouts. again, the pork was pretty generous, three big quarter-inch slices that were not dried out, and were fairly tender.
i couldn't get much information out of the staff of panchitas #3. they were the ones making the ramen. there was zero crowd at 2 PM. all the owner would say is that it used to be on monday, but it was too busy, so they moved it to sunday. he never mentioned the name ken ken, and it wasn't on the printed menu.
all in all a pleasant surprise in the mission. decent ramen in a mostly neglected mexican/salvadorean restaurant? who knew.
Ken Ken Ramen
3378 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
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