My friend’s badminton racket strings popped, which meant that we had to go to Southbay and
eat yummy Asian food get the racket re-strung. I have heard a lot about Ramen Halu from S. & co and was really excited to try it… there is really a sad lacking of good ramen in Berkeley.
The restaurant is pretty small; it looked like there were less than 30 seats, total. For a restaurant of such popularity (at least among my friends), it was surprisingly empty – but that might be because we went around 8:30 on a Monday night. Still, the restaurant had a very warm feeling; maybe because of the cute wall decorations:
As for the food, I actually called my friend L.L. to ask him for recommendations. He immediately said the “Tan Tan Men”, which is actually not your typical ramen dish. He also said their namesake Halu ramen. However…
…I saw that there was pumpkin ramen on the menu. I think I have a small obsession with pumpkin. The description for the pumpkin ramen sounded heavenly: pork/seaweed/vegetable broth, with chashu, shimeji mushrooms, corn, fried pumpkin, onion slices, parmesan cheese, parsley, and ‘bats flying around’ (yes, that was what the menu said). I was fully convinced and ordered it right away. My two dining companions ordered the Tan Tan Men and Halu ramen, as recommended.
When the bowl arrived, I finally understood what was meant by ‘bats flying around’ – the seaweed slices were cut into bat shapes! Super cute, and very Halloween-ish. The broth was very thick and bursting with a rich pumpkin flavor. (Side note: you can customize your order with more/less salt, more/less cheese, etc. I asked for less salt since I know how salty ramen broth can be.) All the toppings were nice, but the one that really stood out to me was the soft-boiled egg, with an amazingly silky yolk. Quite honestly, the best soft-boiled egg I’ve ever tasted (no exaggeration).
I really liked the Tan-Tan Men soup – it was spicy, but not overwhelming. Instead of chashu (pork slice), it was made with ground pork. I think this is supposed to be the Japanese version of 擔擔麵, and although it bears very little resemblance to the original Sichuan dish, it was really good.
Ah yes, we ordered an extra plate of toppings..
I think Ramen Halu is probably my favorite ramen spot now. The broth, noodles, and toppings are really the best that I have had so far. It’s just too bad that San Jose is such a far drive from where I live – otherwise, I would definitely be a frequent diner here :)
375-M Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA
Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm; Sat-Sun 11:30-2:30pm
Dinner: Sun-Thu 5:30-9pm *CLOSED Tue; Fri-Sat 5:30-9:30pm