ramen quest

when i was in L.A. over memorial weekend, i drove a total of 3 hours to/from santa monica for ramen -- REAL ramen, not the shit that's 10 for a $1 at fiesta. the destination was santouka in the mitsuwa market, a japanese grocery store and food court. was the trip worth it? UH HUH. i'm still finding myself daydreaming about these bowls of heaven. the photo on the left is the visual menu at santouka. it's basically just a window full of fake really shiny bowls of food. (click on the photo to enlarge it.)

i couldn't decide between the shoyu (soy sauce) and shiyo (salt) ramens so i got small orders of both. the shoyu ramen (left photo) was smokier, but it was a tad greasy. the shio ramen broth (right photo) was more delicate and flavorful. the noodles were terrific and firm. the pork chashu was velvety, melt in your mouth. it's hard to say which one i liked better. they were different and both equally sensational.

my question is: does ramen even half as good exist in houston?

i have 2 leads. the first is yorimichi japanese kitchen next door to daido japanese grocery on westheimer & wilcrest. today i found out on this blog that nippon serves ramen too, although i'm a little concerned because the blogger mentioned bean sprouts in theirs. nippon is a short drive away. i may try to make it there for lunch.

you know what my life is missing? a japanese friend. there is so much to explore in the world of japanese cuisine and i really need someone to lead the way. please spread the word that i'm recruiting. i'm totally serious.

and i think it's time to watch tampopo again.

update: see ramen quest strike 1


Anonymous said...

YUM! I love Santouka, I go to the one in NJ sometimes.

Anonymous said...

sadly, yorimichi kitchen is closed, now replaced by a pho restaurant- they made ok ramen, nothing special i remember. so you aren't missing too much.

i wish houston had good japanese street food- i'd love to have a little ramen joint around the corner w/takoyaki, okonomiyaki nearby :P

neverfull said...

anonymous, thanks for saving me the trip over there. if you come up with any other leads on great ramen (maybe teppay or sasaki), let me know.

Richard said...

I can't believe it took me this long to discover your blog. I did the same thing when I was in last in LA, making my way to Santouka for the ramen, then to Milk for ice cream. But the ramen in Houston I wish to try is over at Sushi Jin out west. Care to try it with me?

neverfull said...

sure. at least i know mr nagasaki is serving up some really fresh sushi over there so it can't be a total bust. email me at imneverfull@gmail.com

Lee HS Houston said...

Please let me know what you find out at Ramen House style ramen. I live north of Woodlands so if I venture into town I want to make worth it - Thanks

Anonymous said...

ramen is coming. i will bring it here. along with other japanese street food like kushiage.


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