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Restaurants & Bars

Original Ramen @ Ryowa Ramen House, Berkeley

Melanie Wong | Jan 17, 200502:45 PM     2

Following last night's very disappointing performance at Cafe Tibet, our dinner group walked over to Ryowa to feed our hunger for something delicious. We shared an order of Original ramen, Gyoza, and fried chicken (kara-age), plus a big bottle of Orion beer from Okinawa. Ryowa did not fail us.

Ordered with the special handmade noodle supplement, the Original Ramen was deeply satisfying. Maybe more so on this night than usual. The milky caramel-colored tonkotsu-style pork broth had a smooth, densely glycerined and fatty texture. The tiny bit of chili piquancy in the stock set off its rich and meaty porkiness and sweet vegetable flavors beautifully. The thinly sliced chasiu roast pork portion was ample and good quality. The noodles, cut wider and a bit thicker, had good chewiness and soaked up the flavors nicely. The ramen was served steamy hot, which has been my experience at both Ryowa locations, although Ed mentioned that he'd been disappointed by a less thermal hot bowl in the past.

The pork-filled gyoza were fine, well-browned in the pan. The ground meat was a little coarser and harder than I like it, but this is just a personal preference.

The eye-opener for the other hounds was the fried chicken served with a nutty dipping sauce and a mass of shredded cabbage with poached breast meat and kewpie mayonnaise. The dark meat was so juicy and deliciously marinated, and fried to a satisfying crunch. Non-pork eater, El, said he'd be back soon for this dish again.

We noticed that vegetarian ramen and veggie gyoza are offered on the menu. Also steamed shrimp gyoza, and I don't know if these are specific to the Berkeley market or served in Mountain View too.

A photo and the article (in Japanese) from BaySpo for "ramen dipper" was posted on the wall. This showed what looked like a small bowl of clear-ish soup alongside a platter of ramen toppings. Maybe someone who has had this dish can tell us about it?

I liked this bowl of ramen better than the fresh side pork tried last year. Also, it's a value at $6.50, plus the buck for the handmade noodles. Ryowa still holds onto its ranking just behind Halu and Santa in my book.

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.Iroha, San Francisco
17.Manpuku, Berkeley
18.Tanpopo, San Francisco
19.Suzu Noodle House, San Francisco
20.Oidon, San Mateo
21.Katanaya, El Cerrito
22.Sapporo-ya, San Francisco
23.Tokyo Ramen, Milpitas
24.Hotei, San Francisco
25.Bear’s Ramen House, Berkeley

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