Food Porn Friday | Kitakama Ramen Ban Nai | Costa Mesa

Friday, October 03, 2014


Happy Friday hunny bunny boos! Although we are experiencing a MAJOR heat wave here in SoCal (Holy moly high of 101deg today!!!) I often find myself starving for something soupy since that’s the #1 way to comfort my belly and warm my cold heart. JK/JK…On the cold heart part, not the comfort level, lol.

Which means hell and high water for le bf who sweats even hidden in the shade, but happy happy joy joy for moi who loves her noodles with a side of sweet heat! Alas, the lil lady always wins! Enter Kitakama Ramen Ban Nai, the newest OC ramen joint located in the heart of Costa Mesa, having opened just a couple of months back to RAVE reviews and a loyal cult following to boot. 

Here’s what’s on the menu today: 

Chasu Ramen with pork broth, shoyu base, toro chashu, menma, green onion with extra orders of soft boiled egg, sweet corn, dried seaweed, and umami chili. This was le bf’s order, jam-packed with the most flavorful and tender chashu I’ve had here in Orange County. The broth was unexpectedly light and mild, an indication that they’ve labored over the stove and continually cleared the pork base until all you’re left with is the hearty flavor, without all the fat. However, they load that fat back in with the generous slicings of toro chasu, most of which I had to cut off for us SoCal dieters, lol.
(pictured above) 


Aburi Miso Ramen with pork broth, miso base, bean sprouts, seaweed, corn, snow peas, menma, green onion with added soft boiled egg and umami chili. If you’re a follower of my Food Porn Friday posts, you’ll know that this ramen girl favors the miso-based broth over shoyu all day, err day. Something about the earthy sweetness of the miso that pairs perfectly with all the chitlins I add on. Sweet corn, sweet peas, sweet soup, then BOOM! A generous scoop of spicy chili and it’s ON hunnies! But it was a sad day in ramen-ville as the umami chili failed to pack the heat and all I was left with was a heaping bowl of savory sweet noodles without the much-needed kick. And mind you, I dumped almost all of that umami chili in the bowl. So all-in-all, just a-ok pour moi.


Juicy Fried Chicken
marinated with house special sauce. At $3 a pop you bet your bottom dollar I was ordering everything my eyes could feast on appetizer-wise. The chicken was super moist with juice dripping from every bite, but the fried coating became soggy after having sat through a simple 3-click photo shoot to capture the meal. Had the chicken pieces been bite-sized instead of palm-sized, the crispiness could have been savored down to the last nugget. I’m still a fan of the boba teahouse chicken karaage style, sorry Kitakama!


Gyoza served with a schmear of yuzu. The difference between this and the fried variety is that the regular gyoza is pan seared so you get that layer of crispiness versus deep-frying the entire dumpling, which is wayyyy no bueno for the waistline y’all. Lol, trim the fat where you can right?! I NEVER order gyozas anywhere since Chef Sis makes a mean version at home. But I gotta say, this was the BEST gyoza bar none that I’ve had anywhere in OC. The pork filling was flavored perfectly, not too salty, barely any sweet, and crunchy ‘til we both finished our ramen bowls which is saying TONS in my Japanese gyoza handbook. The yuzu paste was the perfect spicy partner, you don't even need soy sauce the filling is so savory. Dude, the fried chicken can learn a thing or two from this one.

Kitakama Ramen Ban Nai
891 Baker St. B21
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 557-2947


*Insider’s tip: Located in a tiny strip mall with other Japanese eateries nearby (Manpuku Grill/ Takaya Yakitori), Kitakama’s draw is that it’s quick, convenient, and a few bucks cheaper than most ramen joints in the area. No dealing with crazy parking issues like Santouka at Mitsuwa, no traversing the freeway to Kopan in Fullerton; it’s hot, it’s new, and it’s right here in our neighboring hood y’all. Although after having tasted this Kitakama ramen style with their distinct flat, wide, and curly noodle boasting the highest water content amongst all ramen styles; I can confidently affirm that I’m a bonafide fan of the Hakata style (seen HERE and HERE). I slurped this bowl down at half past noon and I’m still feeling crazy bloated and full 7 hours later. How am I supposed to dive into a 3-course dinner meal now, huh?*

Hope y’all are staying cool out there!
TGIF and have a cold one for me hunnies!

Bon Appétit mes amis!

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14 comments

  1. I would have loved to have half a portion of the chasu and half a portion of the aburi one for me!! Love a thick hearty tasty broth with lots of meat and chewy noodles! The eggs look slight over cooked, I like my runny but overall you had a delicious meal there!

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  2. mmm!! I've been craving tonkotsu ramen these days! I just had gyoza for dinner haha so good!
    www.lettersimpromptu.blogspot.com

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  3. Even though I am a vegatarian, the color of various elements of
    the noodles makes it look so tasty. Thanks for stopping by!


    X
    http://subhamrai.blogspot.in/

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  4. Now I am hungry! Thanks girl jaja everything look so yummy. I love japanese food very much so this is perfect.

    Avi
    www.petitefashiomonster.com

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  5. I'm definitely not a ramen expert, but these definitely look delicious!

    Bella Pummarola

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  6. Really wanting some fried kitchen right now!

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  7. Your ramen looks so good! You are making me crave it - I think I will have to have some noodles this week...
    Chic on the Cheap

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  8. Great Post! Follow each other on GFC, Google+, Twitter, facebook and Bloglovin? If yes, follow me and i follow back as soon as i see it. Let me know with a comment on my Blog

    Keep in Touch xx Rabea from germany
    http://www.rabeasbeautytipps.com/

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  9. These dishes look great! Sorry to hear that not all of them packed the heat you were searching for! Keep in touch! Best, CD. ican'taffordmylifestyle

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  10. This looks so delicious! Thank you for sharing! I absolutely love, love ramen!!

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  11. This is really a wonderful post.

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Give it to me...gimme that funk, that sweet, that gushy stuff

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