Ramen and boba…my favorite meal/dessert combo. I’ll never forget the first time I had real ramen. Up until then, I associated ramen with cup noodles. I loved cup noodles too, don’t get me wrong, but real ramen was a nice change. I definitely don’t miss the powder packets (aka MSG). Because I’m working in the city for the summer, I’m trying to take advantage of my monthly CalTrain pass to go explore the city on the weekends. And the last two weekends, I’ve gone back to the same two places. So I figured they would be worth mentioning.
This place was a bit far from the CalTrain station. We got there at 11:30 after 2+ hours of commute. I was starving!!
For those of you who read my last ramen post (The Best Ramen in LA), you guys will remember Tsujita. I ALWAYS rave about Tsujita. I really haven’t come across anything that comes close…until Iza Ramen, that is. Iza ramen has both regular ramen and tsukemen. I HIGHLY recommend getting the tsukemen, although to be fair, I have yet to try their regular ramen. Tsukemen is basically ramen served dip-style. The broth and noodles come in separate bowls, and you dip the noodles in the broth as you eat. You’re not actually supposed to drink the broth (aside from dipping) because it’s really thick and heavy. BUT, it also means a lot more flavor than regular broth. Dipping the noodles in the broth coats it with just the right amount so that it’s flavorful but not overwhelming. There’s still pork, bamboo, and egg in the broth, so you’re not missing out on those. The egg isn’t quite soft-boiled to perfection, but it’s still pretty good. The noodles are good, just wish they gave more. And unfortunately, because this place is in SF, the prices are on the higher side. But still totally worth.
The takoyaki appetizer here is also surprisingly good! The texture is perfect, and the toppings complement the takoyaki balls really well. Definitely one of the best I’ve had. Both times I’ve come here, I haven’t seen a line. In LA, Tsujita is a completely different story. So it’s nice being able to get such high quality ramen without the wait. But if you want to be safe, you should still get there early.
The Boba Guys
This place isn’t too far away from the ramen place, so it’s perfect for dessert! Gotta walk off that ramen anyway.
I’ve heard so much about the Boba Guys. SO MUCH, ya’ll have no idea. So the first time I went, I was actually scared that my expectations were too high. But nope, not at all. So I have no problem hyping them up, haha. I’ve been here 3 times in 3 weeks…and mind you, it is like a 1.5 hour commute for me. I don’t come all the way JUST for boba…but if I do come to the city, I try to squeeze this place in somehow. I’ve tried a few drinks here…but my favorite one is still the Strawberry Matcha Latte. You wouldn’t think green tea and strawberry would go well together, but the ratios of flavors that they use is absolutely perfect. Whole milk, fresh matcha, and delicious (surprisingly non-artificially-tasting) strawberry syrup. They serve it to you with the 3 layers clearly separated out and it’s super pretty! Take your pictures first, cause if you don’t mix the drink up well, it definitely won’t taste as good. They also use honey boba here so that adds a nice touch. And the texture of the boba is perfect too!
The lines here can get extremely long, but they move pretty fast. Prices are on the higher side (especially for boba), but I still think it’s worth it.
So there you have it! My favorite ramen and boba in the city. The best part? These two shops are just an 8 minute walk apart. And that’s a HUGE plus in the city. Cause we all know how terrible parking is. If you guys have any other suggestions for ramen/boba in the bay area, I’d love to hear them! Actually, they don’t even have to be in the bay area…I’ll bookmark them anyway 🙂