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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shalala in Bay Area: Decent Shio Ramen and Uber-Crispy Gyoza

I'm always on the prowl for excellent ramen, so I was excited to try this spot in Mountain View in Northern California during a recent visit. I haven't had much luck finding a good place in San Francisco so it was a welcome adventure that made the long drive to South Bay worth it just for the anticipation of good food and good friends.

An old friend and I went to Shalala, a small joint in a strip mall near the Farmers' Market area. There was a line forming even before it opened, which was a good sign. The verdict is that I liked it. I got the shio (salt) ramen that came with two dainty slices of chashu in a tonkotsu broth that was delightfully porky.

We also got the mandatory gyoza, which I consider just as important for a ramen joint (ok, that's an overstatement but you know what I mean). Check out the wonderful crust that formed on the bottom of these beauties. It was like all the gyoza were joined at the hip but in a good way! The pork gyoza was solid and got me even more excited to try the ramen.

The broth was strong and good. The chashu was tender, probably boiled to death (also in a good way) and the noodles were just firm enough (how do say al dente in Japanese?)
We also got a radish, greens and bean sprout salad that had the standard soy-sauce based dressing that's slightly sweet.

It had deep fried wonton chips, which I dislike but didn't make much of since I was focused on the gyoza and ramen.

All in all, a happy meal that I hope to return to. Having said that, I don't think it topped Shinsengumi or Santouka here in LA. Did it top Daikokuya, you ask? I'm not going to honor that with an answer. D is one of the most overrated ramen shops in LA, and thank God Shinsengumi will finally give it a run for its money. Watch out, D, Shinsengumi is in town! Must try S's new Little Tokyo location but if the other S locales are any indication, it'll be rock solid. I heart Shinsengumi! Normal broth, low oil and hard noodles, baby!


umami nyc said...

Al dente="katame" in Japanese.
It means "hard-ish." When you come to NYC next time, we will have a day of city ramen tour together! :)

ironchef442 said...

love it, umami nyc! wld love to go ramen hopping w/you in ny. ahhhh. i miss it there.