Santouka Ramen

San Diego
Noodle House
$$$$

Housed inside of Convoy District Japanese food mecca Mitsuwa Marketplace, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka specializes in unpretentious and body-warming ramen bowls. The outpost of the popular Japanese chain that has spread across the U.S. lets you deviate from the typical tonkotsu-style pork broth in order to experiment with salt-based shio ramen or miso ramen made with fermented red soy paste. Those looking for an eating experience more interactive than the simple slurp can opt for tokusen toroniku, essentially a deconstructed ramen with the meat and topping served separately from the broth.

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Hokkaido Ramen Santouka is located inside the Mitsuwa Market, but don’t let the food court atmosphere stop you. The original restaurant was founded by Hitoshi Hatanaka in Asahikawa, Japan, a city famous for recording the coldest temperature in Japanese history (-41 degrees Celsius, in 1902), so one can assume it knows its way around a bowl of piping hot broth. If you’re new to ramen, a good start is the Tokusen Toroniku: plain broth and noodles served in a signature blue bowl, with garnishes and succulent slices of pork cheeks on the side, ready to be dipped and devoured.
How to order: Walk in or call 858-974-1101 for takeout.

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