NOTE TO BLOG VISITORS - I am not currently doing noodle restaurant visit reports, but focusing on diving more deeply into noodle research, so this blog will be updated less frequently. For the latest Asian noodle news, and features from external sources, follow

Monday, April 28, 2014

One For The Asian Chicken Noodle Soup Files: Coconut Shoyu Ramen At Kaiju Eats

A recent Daily Meal featurette about chicken soups around the world merely scratched the surface of Asian chicken noodle soups, a few of which I have covered in this blog, and I've been pondering doing a compilation of same. This was undoubtedly in the back of my mind when I settled down at a two-top at the new Lone Mountain eatery, Kaiju Eats, and my eyes fell on Coconut Shoyu Chicken Ramen on  the menu.

Kaiju Eats, which bills itself as a ramenya/izakaya, opened little more than a week ago in the space that was until very recently Ramen House. "Kaiju" means monster, and monster style is in mind with the graphics of the hand-drawn menus and business cards, and with the food itself, one might say, with the likes of monstrous Kaiju Roll and the "Godzilla" roll.  But I was there with my noodle hat on (or at least my noodle T-shirt).

Kaiju Eats currently has a dozen ramen choices on the menu, nearly all new-style or having unexpected toppings, though there appears to be an unreconstructed tonkotsu for the less adventurous ("same is lame" says Mr. Williams).  Prices range from $8.50 to $12 (for "The Kaiju").  With my mind still on chicken noodles, I asked the bubbly server if the reactions to the coconut shoyu ramen had been positive, and she gave me the go-ahead. I ordered it spicy (when she offered me the option) and a side order of agedashi tofu.

Agedashi Tofu
My ramen came piping hot. The broth (which had a faux tonkotsu-like appearance and texture from the coconut milk) hid a plenitude of thick (by ramen standards), curly alkaline noodles  Toppings included crispy (pre-fried?) slices of lotus root, bean sprouts, and half a poached egg. Also lurking below the surface was a generous amount of freshly cooked dark chicken meat; definitely enough protein there to make you feel you've had a meal.  The broth took a little getting used to; from the appearance you expect an unctuous, fatty soup, but instead get a cleaner, sharper (thanks to the spicing) sip.  The noodles were chewy, almost to a fault, but that's the way I like them. Overall, it was a hearty and satisfying bowl of ramen.
The agedashi tofu was also tasty and a generous portion for $4.50.  The Kaiju Eats menu has a wide-ranging selection of appetizers, salads and side dishes including skewers. Non-ramen eaters will also find teriyaki, donburi, and even a whole menu section for clams (there's a clam ramen as well).

Check it out!

Where slurped: Kaiju Eats, 3409 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco

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