|Photos by Jennifer Fedrizzi|
|Bowl it up|
Surely you've heard about the recent study that linked instant ramen to heart attacks and diabetes and that the chemical preservative tertiary-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ, a petroleum byproduct) is an often-used ingredient. This is why you should shun those freeze-dried packets of cheapness and convenience and instead eat more real ramen. I'm talking about real noodles in a made-from-scratch soup full of porkiness. And the city where you can get it has always been Costa Mesa. OC's Ramen Town is home not only to the venerable Santouka, with its rich-as-gravy broths; Ramen Yamadaya, with its equally weighty bowls of liquid bacon; but also to the indies Mentatsu and Ramen Zetton, which has a vegetarian ramen that's perhaps even better than the one made with pig.
Before it closed earlier this year, there used to be Kohryu, a cult favorite famous for bowls flecked with its signature deep-fried, charred bits of green onion. But we don't call it Ramen Town for nothing. Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai quickly took its spot in August--the first U.S. store of a chain that has about 60 locations in Japan. More »