The first sip that slipped between my lips was too salty. But as the fresh wavy noodles soaked up the broth, that flavor evened out into a sort of perfection that sang to me. Maybe I'm being a bit too dramatic about the taste, but I can't help it if that's how I feel. And as I started slurping away before one of my evening classes at Cal Poly, everyone was asking me what I got. "Menka," was my reply. "What?" was the reply back. "Ramen!" I exclaimed between slurps of noodles, pork chashu, and wood ear mushrooms (which I love). The place known as Menka Ramen on Foothill Boulevard is less than a year old, but the savory rich tonkotsu broth is almost perfect. I ordered the Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen to-go because who doesn't like a little bit of spice in their soup life? They packaged noodles et al (green onions, corn, pork, mushrooms) separate from the broth, because nobody likes soggy noodles. And I plopped it all together from the comfort of the desk I was sitting at, chopsticks at the ready. It's only my second time having ramen; a January trip to Nozaru Ramen Bar in San Diego may have actually changed my life. I still dream about the perfectly soft-boiled and seasoned egg that floated in a bright red spicy broth next to a pile of shaved green onions. And Menka's seasoned egg was up to the task with a squishy yolk and sweet salty finish.
Get your ramen on at Menka Ramen, 799 E. Foothill Blvd., suite A, in San Luis Obispo from 5 to 10 p.m.; from $11 to $15 for a bowl of something brothy. Δ
Editor Camillia Lanham is all about that soft-boiled egg. Send your favorite dishes to dine on to firstname.lastname@example.org.