My last visit to Kahoo Ramen was awhile ago for their shoyu ramen.
In a couple of other visits, I had a chance to try some of their other flavors: the miso ramen and the shio ramen. Just to reaffirm my previous view on the shoyu ramen, I also tried that as well.
The soup broth of the shoyu (醬油拉麵) ramen again reminded me very much of a good udon soup base with some addtional complexity. It is a satisfying bowl of ramen, when the lines at Ramen Halu down the street gets too long. (Grade: A- )
The shio ramen (鹽拉麵) was presented in a beautiful layer of sesame, nori, scallions, and pork kakuni, covering the entire bowl and hiding the noodles underneath.
Pushing the pork aside, the thin, glistening noodles emerged. This noodle is very chuka-style (Chinese). In fact, it has more than close resemblance with Cantonese style tang zhuang mian (唐裝麵) used for Cantonese chow mein and wonton noodles, though not as curly. Due to its thin-ness, it works well with the lighter flavorted shio broth. The broth is thin in terms of its like-ness to chicken stock, but yet it also has a much deeper flavor coming from the pork stock. The combination works very well. (Grade: B+ )
The miso ramen I tried was the yasai miso (野菜納豆拉麵) ramen. This ramen is an ode to the chef/owner of Do-Henkotsu, the previous ramen shop at this location. Do-Henkotsu’s Yasai ramen was a very good ramen, based on the Nagasaki champon style ramen, which in turn shares a common ancestry with Shandong’s Chao Ma Mian (炒馬麵). The key to this noodle is the flavor of the broth which must be infused by the perfect stir-frying of vegetable and pork.
The old man chef of Do-Henkotsu still can’t be beat – the yasai version here does not have the same intensity of flavor of the signature chao ma broth. Also the miso flavored broth base covered some of that flavor as well. The result is a good combination of good miso broth with lots of veggies. A yasai-shoyu ramen may be a better combination. (Grade: B )
All told, the ramen at Kahoo is pretty good compared to the rest of the shops in the bay area. The shio ramen broth is subtle but strong, the shoyu broth is sweet and flavorful, and the yasai-miso is pretty unique. The noodles are not their strong suit, but the broth and kakuni make up for it.
Latest update to my best ramen of bay area rankings:
- Ramen Halu, San Jose – Halu Ramen
- Ajisen Ramen, Fremont – BBQ Pork Chashu Ramen, Paiku Ramen
- Kahoo Ramen, San Jose – Shoyu Ramen, Shio Ramen, Miso Ramen
- Maru Ichi, Mountain View – Kuro Ramen, Tonkotsu Ramen
- Ringer Hut, San Jose – Nagasaki Champon
- Santa Ramen, San Mateo – Kakuni Tonkotsu Ramen
- Himawari, San Mateo – Kakuni Tonkotsu Ramen
- Maru Ichi, Milpitas – Kuro Ramen, Tonkotsu Ramen
- Ryowa, Mountain View – Ryowa Ramen
Kahoo (香風) Ramen4330 Moorpark Avenue
San Jose, CA 95129