I’ve been on a ramen hiatus for a while, but my love for the soupy noodle dish was resuscitated after dining at the famed Orenchi Ramen. I’ve devoured a lot of ramen around the Bay Area (like here, here, here, here, and here), and I must say that Orenchi is pretty high on the list.
Between 4 people, we shared 2 appetizers: the pork belly and fried garlic. The braised pork belly was soooo sinful. Slowly cooked and perfectly tender. My advice: do not cut off the fat. The fat in the pork belly gives it a distinct flavor. It’s more robust, and somewhat nutty. Believe it or not, the fried garlic was BETTER than the pork belly. Orenchi takes the entire bulb and deep fries it in hot oil until the cloves become soft and creamy. They serve the bulb with a side of dipping sauce (almost like a thousand island). When garlic is fried, it looses its spicy garlicky taste. The flavor becomes much more subtle. You don’t even realize how garlicky it really is until you smell yourself the next morning. Gross… but completely worth it!
I ordered Orenchi Ramen with a tonkotsu soup base. Drumroll please! Dudududuudud… it’s delicious! I ordered with less fat and less salt for peace of mind, but the broth was still very thick and rich. They pour in some special black oil to top off the dish. Not sure what it is, maybe toasted sesame oil? The toppings in the ramen are definitely far superior compared to other ramen places. There was a slice of that delicious pork belly again. The best part is the soft boiled egg. Orenchi has perfected the soft boiled egg. All of ours were perfectly runny and gooey in the middle. The thick and creamy yolk was liquid gold. If only I had a bigger stomach to eat more!
If I were to rate the ramen restaurants in the Bay Area, it would look something like this:
1. Orenchi (tonkotsu broth) at Orenchi Ramen, Santa Clara
2. Miso Ramen at Ramen Halu, San Jose
3. Karage Ramen at Katana-ya, San Francisco
4. Karage Ramen at Santa Ramen, San Mateo
5. Deluxe Miso Ramen at Himawari, San Mateo
6. Karage Ramen at Halu Ramen, San Francisco
7. Tofu and Vegetable Curry at Muracci’s Japanese Curry and Grill, San Francisco
But, my all time favorite ramen would be the Koterri Ramen (chicken collagen soup base) at Tenkaippin in Honolulu, HI. It’s the most unique ramen experience I’ve ever had (sticks to your ribs kind of ramen) and I can’t wait to go back to Hawaii to eat more.
3540 Homestead Rd
Santa Clara, CA 95051