Dining

O Broth, Where Art Thou?

Seven of our favorite bowls of ramen

It's amazing how much attention people can pay to so few variables: Noodles. Broth. Toppings. For some reason, ramen inspires the closest of scrutiny.

Here are our seven favorite bowls right now, listed in no particular order. (Take note, ramen obsessives: Our survey stopped at the border of Santa Clara County.)

① Tokushima-style Ramen at Men Oh Ramen ($9)
The specialty of this Japan-based chain is a soy-seasoned pork broth that you enrich by cracking a raw egg into it. Dense but not heavy.

② Ramen Shop's Vegetarian Miso Ramen ($15)
Topped with seasonal vegetables and finished with a miso blend, this soup--when it appears on the menu--may be the shop's best.

③ The Ajisen Ramen at Ajisen ($11)
With its milky pork bone broth, tender roast pork and skinny noodles, this bowl is the best thing you'll ever eat at the Westfield food court.

④ Iza Ramen's Tsukemen ($11)
At Blowfish's weekend ramen pop-up, get naked noodles to dip in a dense, almost viscous pork, chicken and fish broth.

⑤ Spicy garlic ramen at Ramen Dojo ($9.50)
Fatty pork. Toasted garlic. Chile flakes. Chicken gravy. A quail egg. Thick pork broth. Firm noodles. Could you want more? 

⑥ Hapa Ramen's cheeseburger ramen ($9-$12)
One thing we've always admired about Hapa Ramen's Richie Nakano—he's not afraid to take a chance. His OG slow-cooked pork ramen is a fine bowl of noodles, but the cheeseburger ramen he served at Wing Wings earlier this year? Nakano at his finest.

⑦ Namu Gaji's Ramyun ($16)
If you've ever lived off of spicy grocery-store Korean ramen, you'll doubly appreciate Dennis Lee's bombastically flavored soup and taut noodles, not to mention the addition of kimchi and a 4505 Meats hotdog.

Men Oh Ramen 5120 Geary Blvd. San Francisco CA 94121 415-386-8802 Ramen Shop 5812 College Ave. Oakland CA 94618 510-788-6370 Ajisen Ramen 865 Market St. San Francisco CA 94103 415-357-0288 Iza Ramen 2170 Bryant St. San Francisco CA 94110 415-285-3848 Ramen Dojo 805 S. B St. San Mateo CA 94401 650-401-6568 Namu Gaji 499 Dolores St. San Francisco CA 94110 415-431-6268

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