Tamara Palmer

Tokyo Ramen in Your California Home

Tamara Palmer
Tokyo Ramen in Your California Home

BY TAMARA PALMER

Discount codes for the new local mail order company Ramen Hero often dance across my Facebook timeline, which I had been meaning to try on the recommendation of my friend Hitoshi Hokamura, the “Chief Food Officer” of Japanese food in San Francisco who vouched for its homeland authenticity — it’s made by “ramen chefs with experience at Michelin Guide ramen shops in Tokyo,” according to the website.

But by the time I gave in to make an order, I was so excited about it that I forgot to use the discount code! D’oh! Since the minimum order was two ramen kits, the total came to $37.99 for two kits at $14 each plus $9.99 shipping, which might cost more in other parts of California; Ramen Hero is working on expanding beyond the state.

Two spicy tonkotsu ramen kits arrived today, just in time for a late lunch.

Ramen Hero to the rescue (Tamara Palmer)

Ramen Hero to the rescue (Tamara Palmer)

Spicy tonkotsu ramen kits (TP).

Spicy tonkotsu ramen kits (TP).

The items didn’t arrive super frozen, which is apparently a common occurrence, and in my case, this was a good thing because I wanted to use one of them right away. The broth and toppings come in BPA-free plastic sous vide boiling bags and RH is also looking to partner with companies that offer more eco-friendly cooking ideas. The broth is boiled in the bag for 10 minutes and the noodles take about two minutes to boil, which is how long the topping bags sit in the broth bag pot after the 10 minute boil.

Like other meal kits, the amount of packaging this comes in is a bummer that would prevent me from making frequent orders, and I was suspicious of how it would all turn out — especially the bags with ground pork and the slice of “fancy pork.” But those suspicions would turn out to be unfounded because this was an excellent bowl of ramen.

Ramen Hero’s spicy tonkotsu ramen (TP).

Ramen Hero’s spicy tonkotsu ramen (TP).

The broth is silky and supple (though you might want to shake it up in the bag before putting it in the bowl) and prompts slurping it down to the bottom of the bowl. The meat toppings are on point, if on the small side. Even the frozen sheet of nori sprang back to a respectable crisp after the boil.

Next, I’ve got my eye on the garlic butter shio ramen that appears to be sold out for now. I still haven’t been to Tokyo, but I felt its warmth for lunch today.