Ken Ken Ramen
It’s no surprise that Ken Ken Ramen made such a seamless transition from a Mission District-based pop-up to one of the most-loved restaurants in the area; it offers lip-smacking ramen at wallet-friendly prices. With an already devoted following, this cosy neighbourhood ramen joint opened its doors in 2011 and has steadily added to its opening times due to the clammer of hungry diners (it’s now open six days a week). And clammer they should with tonkotsu, miso, shoyu and shio ramen on the menu, not to mention the rotating menu of specials through the week. It even offers – and this is a rarity – a vegan ramen option. But the one not to be missed is the classic Japanese Ramen; slow-cooked to perfection, it’s topped with braised pork, assorted vegetables and a creamy, yolky egg. And the noodles owe their slightly chewy, compelling texture to the imported flour from Hokkaido that Ken Ken Ramen use to make them fresh.
The mostly-white dining room is charming in its simplicity, with the colourful paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling creating a warm glow. And the atmosphere is fun and friendly, helped in large part by the tempting selection of sakes and beer on offer, the communal dining, and the no-reservations policy, which means that those first-come, first-served diners are happy to have snagged seats.