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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cali Trip: Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai

Before we headed to the airport that Sunday, we met up with 2 of my sister's friends for lunch. We chose another ramen place we've never been to.

Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai
891 Baker St. B21
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 557-2947
Price: $$

This is a pretty small place and they don't take reservations. So we made sure we had extra time to wait in line. There were already many other groups waiting outside when we got there. I think we waited about 25-30 minutes total? The weather outside was nice so it wasn't a big deal.

We got some appetizers to start.
Gyoza (pan fried; with yuzu chili pepper paste) $3.80~ Perfectly crispy on the bottom. And it came with Kosho on the side. It's this condiment made with yuzu and chili peppers so it's got a kick to it! Tasty!

Spicy Rice (steamed rice mixed with housemade umami chili) $2~ I saw this on yelp and it just sounded amazing. Umami chili? Uh, yes, please! But it was underwhelming. Not spicy, and not particularly "umami" either.

Juicy Fried Chicken (marinated with house special sauce) $3~ This. Was. Amazing. Beautifully fried, and the meat inside was soooo juicy. It came with this peanuty sauce which was an interesting, and good, compliment. I can eat this chicken forever!!!

I was talking about the different types of ramen to the guys before we ordered... broth ramen, tsukemen (dipping ramen), mazemen (dry ramen), etc... And they were really interested in trying the dipping ramen.

So 3 of us ordered the Tsukemen (Dipping Ramen) with the Cold Noodle (dashi shoyu base, radish shoot, Japanese mustard spinach, bean sprouts, carrots, chashu, lime, grated radish and ginger, ground sesame seeds) $8.50~ 
It was a huge portion! And since this is a different style than we've normally had, I've never tried noodles like these before.

From their website: The noodle of Kitakana ramen is flat, wide, and curly. It contains the highest amount of water among ramen noodles. Noodles are hand crumpled to have distinctive curliness and texture. The soup is light in color yet full of flavor and not oily.
The noodles were fantastic. They certainly did have the crumpled look and it felt homemade. And the broth was light but full of flavor and not in the least bit greasy! I couldn't finish all my noodles cuz the portion was so big. The 2 guys absolutely loved it.

My sister got the Green Chili Shio Ramen (pork broth, shio base, Toro chashu, green chili, nappa, garlic, Asian chives, red onion, green onion) $8.50~ 
OMG. This is sooooo good. Different than any ramen we've ever had before. The broth was light in color but just packed with flavor!! It had a spicy kick to it from the green chili. I was just shocked at the amount of flavor but yet was so light. My sister said she thought this was better than Santouka... And you know what... I almost have to agree! So interesting, and oh so good. I highly highly recommend this if you can take spicy.

So... first time having Kitakana style ramen. Love it!! And the prices were super reasonable. We got more than enough food for everyone. I guarantee we'll be back next time we're in town.

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Overall Experience:


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