Japantown in San Francisco will always be one of my favorite areas in the city.
As a child, I regularly visited Japantown with my mom and have fond memories of eating delicious food and exploring all the shops. While a lot of the restaurants have changed over the years, there are still plenty of amazing options when visiting.
For ramen, my favorite places are Marufuku Ramen and Hinodeya Ramen Bar. Marufuku’s signature ramen is Hakata-style Tonkotsu ramen where the broth is very rich and milky using pork bones as the base. Hinodeya’s signature ramen uses a dashi broth so it’s more light and delicate in flavor. Both are scrumptious!
For udon, Udon Mugizo cannot be beat. They make their noodles fresh (you can watch them roll it out using a fancy machine) and it makes all the difference.
I got the tempura zaru udon, a traditional dish which happens to be my favorite. These cold noodles are dipped into a broth with scallions, sesame seeds, daikon, and nori. The texture of the noodles were fantastic with a firm bite and chew.
Tommaso got the tonkotsu udon in a rich pork broth with slices of chashu pork, soy marinated egg, and shrimp tempura.
Of course there are a plethora of dessert options at Japantown to satisfy your sweet tooth. First up is newcomer, jina bakes. This Asian inspired bakery can be quite popular on the weekends so either get there early or go during the week.
We got the kalbijjim croissant (Korean spicy braised short ribs with Mozzarella cheese), injeolmi croissant (Korean rice cake with roasted soy bean powder), orange chocolate bun, matcha and hojicha cream puffs, and basque cheesecake. We also got one of their signature beverages, the honeycomb toffee latte which Tommaso enjoyed.
Right across from the bakery you’ll find Premium Matcha Café Maiko, a chain that serves all things matcha flavored known for their soft serve ice cream. We’ve been here a few times and this time I got the vanilla matcha swirl.
Lastly, Mochill is another popular dessert spot for mochi donuts. We’ve been here several times and tried all the flavors. My favorites are the matcha and cinnamon sugar. I wasn’t a fan of the chocolate for some reason. If you’ve never had mochi donuts, they have a chewy texture but still remain light and airy.
Honestly you can’t go wrong at Japantown. There are so many restaurants and shops that you’ll definitely find something to your liking.