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Kuro Tonkotsu Ramen at Kirimachi Ramen, San Francisco

UPDATE (May 15, 2017)

New Address

3 Embarcadero Ctr San Francisco, CA 94111

No other dish seems to capture the heart of Japanese people like ramen. There are many TV shows, magazines, and blogs dedicated to ramen. According to one statistic, some 3,000 ramen shops are opening and closing every year in Japan. I think ramen to Japanese is pizza to Americans. Just like the simple combination of crust, sauce, and cheese in pizza, soup and the style of noodles (how thick they are, for example) offer endless variations in ramen. As there are New York Style and Chicago Style Pizzas, there are, of course, Sapporo Ramen, Kitakata Ramen, and Tokyo Ramen, each portraying use of different stock and noodle thickness to produce its original flavor. There are mainly three types of soup: Shoyu (soy sauce), Shio (salt), and miso. The stock is very important because it will create a base for the soup. Chicken, pork, bonito, kombu, vegetables and small fish like sardines are used to make stock. It’s the combination and the ratio of ingredients that determines the unique characteristics of the stock. Tonkotsu soup is one of my favorites. It literally means “Pork bone,” as the stock is made from pork bones being cooked in water for a few days. It creates a milky stock. At Kirimachi Ramen in North Beach, I recommend Kuro(which means black in Japanese) Tonkotsu Ramen because I like it. “Black” normally comes from adding black sesame paste. The owners and chef went to Japan in 2012 to visit Ramen Museum in Yokohama. After they had come back, their Tonkotsu soup got much closer to the one in Japan. Their half-boiled egg that comes with the ramen is excellent - yolk is not too hard, not too soft. If you go there during lunchtime, I would go after 1:30 PM, as it can get busy around noon. If you can wait until dinner, then I would plan my visit around 6 PM. It’s not so “hidden” as one may think, but it could be easy to miss if you don’t have their street address. Look for the red lantern outside of the door. Kirimachi Ramen 450 Broadway St San Francisco, CA 94133 415.335.5865

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