Finally updating the blog after quite a break. Life has been pretty busy lately with all-sorts-of-this-and-that-and-it-makes-me-tired-everyday, but motivation for blogging has been low. I barely want to be at my computer when I get home, let alone work on photos and write. Haha. Last weekend was quite a nice rest, though, and it’s nice to sit down and write again :)
I mentioned in my post on Yakyudori Yakitori that I have visited RakiRaki, but haven’t gotten around to posting about it yet. When S and I first heard of its opening, I wanted to go immediately. It is located on Convoy St. next to A Cafe (in the plaza with the worst parking lot in the world.. yes, that’s the one), quite a popular spot. I can’t quite remember what used to be here… maybe a Thai restaurant?
RakiRaki, located in the Tapioca Express plaza on Convoy St.
When we first visited, RakiRaki was still at its soft opening stage. The menu was pretty simple and featured chicken broth-based shio (salt) ramen. I’m no expert on ramen, but Dennis over at A Radiused Corner has a pretty good explanation of their style. I’m normally a fan of thick and creamy tonkotsu ramen, but I had heard good things about the lighter broth at RakiRaki and wanted to give it a try. I’ve also heard good things about the tsukemen here (a “dipping” ramen – explanation later).
Complimentary alkaline water for every table. Alkaline water supposedly is pH 8.0 and claims to alter your body’s physiology and neutralizes your bloodstream, etc. etc. I’m pretty skeptical about these health benefits. But if they use alkaline water in the ramen broth, it may bring out some different flavors than using pH 7 water. Just a guess.
Enagic alkaline water
In addition to ramen there are some appetizers and also sushi rolls. I wasn’t so interested in the rolls but did try the takoyaki (octopus fritters):
These were pretty good, decent amount of octopus on the inside (sometimes it’s 99% batter, and I get cranky because hey, it’s usually not cheap). I’m not sure why the mayo turned out so yellow-ish in the photo.. but it’s mayo, a sweet takoyaki sauce, and bonito flakes. Yum (but a bit pricey)!
But of course, the main star here is the ramen.
“Spicy premium hot” ramen ($8.75)
They offer the chicken broth-shio ramen in “Original” and “Premium” versions. I had heard from Kirbie that the original tends to be overly salty, so we opted for the Premium. To my surprise, I quite liked the lightness of the chicken broth – and maybe this is blasphemous, but I really thought it reminded me a bit of chicken noodle soup. The noodles were thin, which I like (although I know that not everyone prefers thin noodles). The toppings were pretty scarce: cabbage, a splash of scallions, and 2 slices of pork chashu. This is not the typical chashu that I’m used to and is much leaner. I missed the fatty chashu and found the toppings somewhat unsatisfying.
Now onto the tsukemen!
Spicy tsukemen ($9.25)
Tsukemen, as I’ve previously mentioned, is a “dipping” ramen. Basically the noodles and soup are served separately, you dip the noodles in the soup, then
eat slurp it up! The broth is much heavier than the ramen options, since I don’t think you’re supposed to drink it. Anyhow, the broth reminds me a bit of traditional Chinese-style marinade, and it was really good! Plenty of soy sauce, and braised fatty pork chashu. This was definitely our favorite item here, and definitely a great first-time experience with tsukemen. (For really great tsukemen, though, Dennis recommends Tsujita in L.A. – definitely on my list now.)
Anyway, S and I really enjoyed RakiRaki – in fact, we went twice in three days and brought a few of our friends there. In particular, we liked the tsukemen a lot. They are still changing things up every time we visit – for example, they now serve a hard-boiled egg with the ramen (didn’t do that for our first two visits), and are expanding their menu items. We’ll definitely be back for more!
Read the reviews of RakiRaki on other San Diego food blogs: Kirbie’s Cravings, A Radiused Corner, mmm-yoso, and Convoy Conquest.