Neighborhood: Inner Richmond
312 8th Ave
(between Clement St & Geary Blvd)
San Francisco, CA 94118
I am forever on the hunt for the best ramen in the Bay Area and I have yet to find one that tops Tenkaippin in Honolulu. In my years of searching, I’ve found Halu to be one of the better ramen spots in San Francisco. Decorated in Beatles paraphernalia and cycling through every Beatles album ever made on the speakers, the family-owned business hit a jackpot with the Beatlemania-themed restaurant.
When I recommend this restaurant (with a seating capacity of about 20 people) to other ramen connoisseurs, I always tell them to go when you’re not hungry because you will wait for your food. It took 25 minutes to get our 2 orders of the Kara Age (fried chicken) ramen ($10 each) and an order of the buttered mochi wrapped in nori (seaweed) ($6.50).
The mochi was seasoned with a buttery soy sauce, grilled until it’s warm and chewy, then wrapped in seaweed before serving. The appetizer is definitely my favorite of the night. The ramen, which consists of corn, ginger, bean sprouts, green onions and uber tender fried chicken, was so thick and rich, a slight film would form on top if you let it sit too long. Kind of gross, but it tasted good. I have an appreciation for hand-made noodles, and I’m almost positive Halu uses packaged noodles, which is disappointing.
On my next venture to Halu, I’ll try the yakatori (skewers). It’s supposedly their specialty, but I can’t bring myself to pay $5 for 3 tiny little skewers. In the meantime, Halu will remain my close substitute for ramen until my next trip to Hawaii.