From Our Editors
Ken Ken Ramen: A User’s Guide
- Shoyu ramen with pork
- Seaweed salad
The Story: Once just a pop-up helmed by chef Takahiro Hori, the eatery’s menu grew so popular that Chef Hori and his partners opened this permanent spot in 2010 (about 100 years after the first ramen shop opened in Japan). He only offers five types of ramen per day (plus a special), rotating selections depending on what’s available. His partners call him a “ramen master”, and 7x7 nameed Ken Ken Ramen one of the top 7 ramen houses in SF.
Where to Sit: at the counter, where you can try to find a pattern in the lines of the live-edge bar made from Mendocino redwood
When Not to Go: during the hours of 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., when the restaurant shuts down temporarily before dinner service. It opens at noon for lunch, then re-opens (except on Mondays) for dinner at 6 p.m.. Waiting time can be long, so be sure to account for that when making plans.
Tonkotsu Ramen: ramen made with pork bone broth
Shoyu: a Japanese soy sauce made from both soya beans and wheat (as opposed to tamari, which is only made from soya beans)
What the Press Says
- “The highlight of any ramen from Ken Ken is the egg. Served whole, the soy-soaked orb quivers in the broth. A bite reveals a silky, custardy yolk held back by the salty white.” —SF Weekly
- “Some would argue that ramen's all about the broth, and on that point, Ken Ken does well. . . . The ramen itself, made in house with flour imported from Hokkaido, is slender and springy.” —7x7
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: peruse the brilliant street art in Clarion Alley (just south of 17th Street, between Mission and Valencia Streets)
After: stop for Japanese sweets next door at sister shop Suika, and treat yourself to a Boba Guys bubble tea