[San Jose] Ramen Halu
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.
Pumpkin ramen with original thick noodles ($12.50)
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).
The Halu ramen had a clear broth, which felt very refreshing after the thick pumpkin soup.
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..
Corn, mushrooms, half an egg (!!), black wood-ear fungus, cabbage, spinach, seaweed, green onions, and cha-shu slices. Extra veggies always make me happy.
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
[San Jose] Ramen Halu revisit
I keep forgetting to put up this post from when I visited the Bay Area a while ago. Ramen Halu in San Jose has been my favorite ramen place since I visited for my birthday two years ago. However, because Berkeley is pretty far from San Jose, I didn’t have a chance to go again before I moved to San Diego. I raved about it so much to S that when we visited the Bay Area, we decided to have lunch there so that he could try it out.
Ramen Halu in San Jose
It was definitely a warm day for ramen – I didn’t expect that – but there was still quite a wait for Saturday lunch. The place is pretty tiny.
I had a hard time deciding what I wanted. My friend L swears by the tantan-men, but I also like the Halu original, and the fall special pumpkin ramen, and I wanted to try out the tsukemen since it was a hot day. Finally, I settled on the tantan-men.
Tantan-men with original thick noodle ($9/small)
I’m no ramen expert, but I wanna say that tantan-men is based on the Chinese “dan dan noodles” (擔擔麵). (Incidentally, I wrote about Spicy City’s dan dan noodles in the previous post.) The soup is their signature tonkotsu broth, mixed with their special shoyu sauce, dashi broth, Japanese vinegar, and white sesame paste and chili oil. The meat is ground pork, cooked with a special miso paste, and other toppings were seasoned bamboo (menma), boiled spinach, green onions, wood ear mushrooms, and a square of seaweed. This was quite a heavy and flavorful bowl of ramen, and it really did remind me of dan dan noodles – particularly because of the sesame paste. If you are in the mood for a huge flavor hit, I definitely recommend the tantan-men. It would have been even better if it was a cold winter day.
Halu ramen with original thick noodle & egg ($8.70/regular)
The Halu ramen is also tonkotsu-based, blended with shoyu sauce and dashi broth, flavored with onion, ginger, and garlic. According to their webpage, the broth is a mix of rich and clear broth, giving it a unique, deep flavor. Toppings included chashu, seasoned bamboo, green onions, boiled spinach, wood ear mushrooms, and seaweed square. S added a soft-boiled egg for $1. I thought this was pretty good flavors and very similar to Yakyudori’s tonkotsu broth. It’s hard to say which one I preferred, the Halu or tantan-men – really would depend on my mood.
Overall, I really enjoyed my meal at Ramen Halu and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for ramen in the Southbay area. It is on the pricey side for ramen, but I think the toppings are bit different at what you see in most ramen shops (at least in San Diego). Definitely would be a great place for those cold wintry nights that the Bay Area is supposedly having right now.
375 Saratoga Ave, Suite M, San Jose, CA
Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm; Sat-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm. Dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-9pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-9:30pm. Closed Tuesday dinner.
I learned my capacity for ramen per day is two, max. Even if one of them is super small and delicious tan tan men. Extra spicy.
Just arrived into the SF #BayArea! but first, #Ramen time!
Dunk. Devour. Repeat. Tsukemen. Ikemen. halu food # eats
This was surprisingly delicious and refreshing! Good going darenftw! food eats
Ramen Halu – San Jose, CA
1st stop back home in SJ after a loong loong vacation – some ramen!
I have been wanting to try this place for a while but we always end up in Santouka (because we always miss the turn!) and right pass this is Santouka about a few blocks away. Like most ramen places, it is a tiny place with a few tables and a small bar.
Menu was a little confusing but in great detail. Every ramen had a little paragraph about what goes in the soup, what the soup is and what kind of noodles.
To order, you have to decide the soup base, size, level of salt, type of noodles, firmness of noodles and additional toppings. :)
Meep and I ordered the Halu ramen:
Halu ramen, Large ($10.40) with an egg (1.50), extra chashu ($2.50)
The soup is made with pork, chicken, fish, shellfish, range of dried & fresh vegestable and seaweed.
Regularly served with some cha-shu (tender pork), kikurage (wood ear mushroom), menma (bamboo), green onion and seaweed.
The egg was cooked perfectly! Noodles were nice and firm (as requested).
Halu ramen (regular) $8.10
The soup was definitely full bodied and complex (in a good way). Just the right amount of salt (I opt for regular salt),
Total Damage: $30 (including tax & tip)
Personal Rating: 3.25 out of 5 (good)
It was definitely tasty and one of the better ramens I have tasted. That being said, my favourite is still Santouka and Kahoo following close behind.
It is great that they have the option of different levels of salt or noodle firmness; because I know some friends who find regular ramen a little on the salty side.
I would definitely head over here when I am starving and cannot afford the long waits in the other establishments. :)
375 Saratoga Ave
San Jose, CA 95129
Ramen Halu is located on Saratoga Ave in San Jose, CA. They are listed as one of the top 21 ramen shops in the US. The owner is reported to be an active part of the restaurant and will actually visit with the guests.
A variety of different ramen is offered and a huge perk among reviewers is the ability to get it in different sizes (thick, thin). There are also various sizes available for you to choose from depending on your hunger level. The most popular dish and a must try according to most reviewers is the Halu.
Reviews say this is a small but tidy and overall friendly place to visit. The décor has a simple ocean/surfer vibe that most reviewers felt relaxing and enjoyed. Overall a majority of reviewers stated that they liked that they had the feeling of being welcomed when they entered the door.
Staff is reviewed by most as being friendly and helpful with navigating the menu. Most reviewed the service as being attentive and prompt. There is a $20 minimum to use a credit card as the payment method.