Recently errands took me out to Taraval in the Sunset district where I made a stop at "100% Healthy Desserts". A first visit for me, I thought I'd just get a fruit drink and be on my way. But the glossy menu with colorful photos of the selections also offered either udon or ramen noodles topped with baked eel, sausage bacon rolls, pork cutlet, dumpling (gyoza), fried chicken, or lobster balls. So I took a seat (actually a brightly-colored vinyl stool) and decided to have dinner here. Hard as it was to resist the idea of bacon-wrapped mini-wienies, I opted for the lobster ball ramen, $5.95, with noodles ordered "hard", as shown here.
Image of ramen and black pearl barley mango dessert -
The noodles were chewy and firm as ordered. They had a nice silkiness that played well against the light-bodied, cloudy chicken/pork broth. The well-skimmed stock had a clean, homemade quality. Topped with corn, slivered wood ears, surimi, fish cake, and scallions plus the lobster balls, this was a more interesting bowl of ramen than I expected to find for the price. The lobster balls themselves were not much different from deep-fried shrimp balls. But they were tasty topped with the sprinkle of togarashi pepper. The salting, chili pepper and fish cake made this taste a bit more Japanese-like than most other Chinese-made ramen I've had around here. I'll rank this at #34.
Dessert-wise, I had the black pearl barley mango coconut milk, $3.95. The "black pearl barley" seemed just like what I've thought were basil seeds. Maybe someone who knows more about these Hong Kong-style desserts can clear this up. The mango had a touch of fiber yet had a nice perfume and sweet flavor.
Since the weather had started to cool down, I got an order of sesame sweet soup (ji ma wu), $3.25, to go. This is the best item I've had here so far. Black as ebony, this is the straight stuff with little cornstarch thickener diluting the color or flavor. Intense roasted sesame flavor, very smooth and unctuous in the mouth, and perfectly balanced sweetness --- this is clearly made from scratch. I haven't had real, lusciously rich ji ma wu like this since I was a wee one.
This week I went back while my parents were in town. We tried the almond sweet soup (hung gnun wu), $3.25, which was not nearly as good as the black sesame version. As it cooled, it set up almost like pudding from too much cornstarch, and the flavor came mostly from extract and not real almonds. The mango pudding, $2.95, is a creamy version topped with a dice of fresh mango and the option of a cream topping. We thought this was good and we'd order it again.
100% Healthy Desserts
1155 Taraval St.
PERSONAL RAMEN RANKING
1. Ramen Halu, 375 Saratoga Ave Ste M, San Jose
2. Santa, 805 S B St, San Mateo
3. Ryowa, 2068 University Ave, Berkeley
4. Himawari, 202 2nd Ave, San Mateo
5. Ryowa, 859 Villa St, Mountain View
6. Tanto, 1063 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
7. Maru Ichi, 368 Castro St, Mountain View
8. Do-Henkotsu House of Tokushima Ramen, 4330 Moorpark Ave, San Jose
9. Gen Ramen, 47890 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont
10.BY Grill, 3226 Geary Blvd, San Francisco (closed)
11.Norikonoko, 2556 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley
12.Hana, 4320 Moorpark, San Jose
13.Katanaya, 430 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
14.Masa's Sushi, 400 San Antonio Road, Mountain View
15.Gochi, 19980 Homestead Rd, Cupertino
16.Oyaji, 3123 Clement St, San Francisco
17.Maru Ichi, 530 Barber Lane, Milpitas
18.Hatcho, 1271 Franklin Mall, Santa Clara
19.Tomoe, 810 3rd St, San Rafael (closed)
20.Ringer Hut, 1072 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
21.Izakaya Mai, 212 2nd Avenue, San Mateo
22.Kumako, 211 E. Jackson Street, San Jose
23.Ramen Club, 723 California Dr, Burlingame
24.Tazaki Sushi, 3420 Judah St, San Francisco
25.Ramen Rama, 19774 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino
26.Ogi-San Ramen, 10789 Blaney Ave, Cupertino
27.Kaimuki Grill, 104 S El Camino Real, San Mateo
28.Tanto, 1306 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
29.Okazu Ya SF (Noriega), 2445 Noriega St, San Francisco
30.King's Garden Ramen, 39055 Cedar Blvd, Newark (closed)
31.Sushi Bistro, 445 Balboa St, San Francisco
32.Mitsuwa Hokkaido festival booth, 675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
33.Lakuni, 325 E 4th Ave, San Mateo
34.100% Healthy Desserts, 1155 Taraval St., San Francisco
35.Mifune, 1737 Post St, San Francisco
36.H2A Noodle, 42318 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
37.Iroha, 1728 Buchanan St, San Francisco
38.Miraku Noodles, 2131 N Broadway, Walnut Creek
39.Manpuku, 2977 College Ave, Berkeley
40.Tanpopo, 1740 Buchanan Street, San Francisco
41.Sushi Yoshi, 39261 Cedar Blvd, Newark
42.La Shang Niang Ramen (OEC), 42 Dixon Rd, Milpitas
43.Oidon, 71 E. 4th Avenue, San Mateo
44.Taraval Okazu Ya, 1735 Taraval St., San Francisco
45.Suzu Noodle House, 1581 Webster Street, San Francisco
46.Sapporo-ya, 1581 Webster St, San Francisco
47.Tokyo Ramen, 678 Barber Lane, Milpitas (closed)
48.Kamakura, 2549 Santa Clara Ave, Alameda
49.Mama-san!, 312 8th Ave, San Francisco
50.Katana-ya Ramen, 10546 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito
51.Hotei, 1290 9th Ave, San Francisco
52.Bear's Ramen House, 2521 Durant, Berkeley
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