Friday, 13 May 2011

Tan Po Po - Ramen in San Francisco Japan Town, soupy comfort with a smile


Address: 1740 Buchanan Street
San Francisco CA 94115-3209
Tel: (415) 346-7132

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: Below $15pp (without drinks)
Service charge: discretionary
Taste: ***
Service: ****
Ambience: ***
This is a series of reviews done up for my trip to San Francisco. I figure that since I have to eat, I might as well write about it. Enjoy!

One of the regrets from my stay in San Francisco is that I didn’t actually get a chance to pay the Japan Town a visit. As our accommodation come with a fully functional kitchen, we were looking forward to prepare some meals on our own every now and then. Other than Chinatown (San Francisco apparently has one of the largest in the US), where else is a better place to source for Asian groceries than Japan Town itself?

Actually, we did get manage to squeeze in two visits to Japan Town albeit late at night for dinner when all the stores were closed. Our first visit was to Doobu (or Tofu House) set right in the heart of Japan Town. A Korean colleague of mine, on our behest, brought us there for dinner and apparently, he was pointed there by his Korean contacts. The meal went into a blur of beer and barbecue meats but I did recall that Doobu’s seafood tofu soup was a masterpiece.

The same week, after suffering from noodle soup withdrawal, we were back at Japan Town. This time round, after consulting Yelp (which is quite an authority in the Bay area), we settled on Tan Po Po, which sits directly opposite Doobu.

Tan Po Po’s layout was that of a mini bar cum restaurant with its bar taking centre stage. A large LCD TV was perched just behind the bartender and was tuned to the US equivalent of Takeshi Castle. With their eyes fixed onto the TV, two couples were slurping through their ramen. With a couple of families (yes, kids and all) occupying the main seating area, Tan Po Po had this relaxing and laid back feel about it.

miso ramen

karamiso ramen with karaage chicken

Fully staffed by ethnic Japanese, the service was efficient and all smiles. We went for the miso ramen ($9) and karamiso ramen ($9) topped up with karaage chicken (additional $2). While I can’t exactly remember what was the difference between miso ramen and karamiso ramen (I was that hungry), the hot piping meal was definitely one of the more satisfying ones that we had in San Francisco. However, I did recall that that the generous slice of barbecue pork that came with the ramen had just the right amount of fat and the tinge of sweetness went well with the savory soup base.

I’m heading straight to Tan Po Po if I were to visit San Francisco again. Nothing comforts more than a bowl of miso noodle soup especially with the chilly winds outside.

Tan PO PO Japanese on Urbanspoon

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