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soy sauce ramen with roasted seaweed and citron peel at santa

warmbaguettes | Jan 16, 200601:32 PM

after a short-on-the-santa scale 30 minute wait for seating, and learning they were out of both miso broth AND roasted pork, on a whim i opted for the roasted seaweed and citron peel (nori-to-yuzu?) in soy sauce broth.

what arrived after about 20 minute was, if i may use one of melanie's eloquent descriptions, a bowl exemplified by japanese-presentation aesthetic, carefully exhibiting about 10 pieces of nori (toasted seaweed) fanned out behind a small bundle of daikon sprouts. on the soupy periphery, i could see the little pieces of pork fat and garlic (?) floating about. at first taste of the broth my impression was "this is really good, but a bit salty" but this would soon dissipate once the mixing began. the soup was full bodied and rich in soy-pork goodness with what i suspect might've been a kick from some long-simmered garlic, thought if it was there, was indistinguishable from the floating porcine particulates.

after pulling the nori to the side to maintain some remnants of crispness, i mixed up the noodles to find hidden below a fine mince of green onions, as well as the small pile of finely minced citron. it was yellow, so i'm not sure if it was citron or yuzu, but somehow felt that yuzu fits the cuisine better, so referred to it as such. anyway after mixing everything except the nori, i dipped into the noodles.

interestingly, i finally detected the bit of ammonia-like quality, oft-mentioned in CH postings, after placing a denser tangle of noodles in my mouth. believe it was melanie who mentioned that traditional ramen-ya will actually cook the noodles in a specially-treated water (what with, i don't recall), but the flavor will frequently give the noodles a bit of an initial ammonia-like hit. though not particularly pleasing the ammonia-ish quality quickly dissipated as i dispersed the noodles more completely throughout the bowl. the noodles were excellent - still slightly firm, and the occasional bite of the citron skin provided a nice flavor contrast to the rich pork-enhanced broth. santa also seems to have some of the better small bamboo shoots (menma) around. also worth mentioning is that the chashu was arguably the best i've had at a ramen place, though certainly not anywhere near as good as real chinese char siu. slightly thicker than chashu at himawari, for example, moister with bigger pieces of fat, and consequently tastier than i've had elsewhere.

thanks to CH/Melanie recommendations for miso with stewed pork at santa, and asari clam ramen at himawari, i thought the seaweed and citron peel at santa a personal hit and plan to return.

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