Saiwaii Ramen Review

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@ Outer Sunset
2240 Irving Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Saiwaii Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen

Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen

I’ve been wanting to try Saiwaii for awhile now. I first heard about it during my visit to Food Buzz Blogger Festival back in October of 2012. A fellow noodle lover I met there had told me her favorite ramen spot was Saiwaii. I was a bit dumbfounded since I “thought” I knew all the ramen spots in the Bay Area. So I told her I would eventually try it to see what I thought about it.

I decided to try it out his weekend since I was shopping around in the area. My expectations weren’t so high since it got three stars on Yelp and I just had one of my favorites, Kirimachi, for lunch. My fiance and I arrived at the restaurant at around 9pm and there was no line. We saw at the store front that it closes at 11pm (which is a plus). I don’t think I have ever seen a ramen restaurant that closes that late. We were seated quickly and handed our menus. They had an extensive menu for sushi rolls to serve with your ramen. We were pretty tired so we ordered quickly. We both got the Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen and added the pork belly topping. My fiance got the extra spicy and I got the regular spicy.

When the ramen arrived, it looked good (as pictured above). They give you your standard char-siu with green onions, seaweed, bamboo shoots and ramen but no egg =(. I tried out the tonkotsu broth first and thought to myself “not bad”. Then I digged in and ate the noodles; not bad either. Next, I tried their meat. Their meat was delicious! Very tender but very fatty (which I enjoy with my ramen). The spiciness in my broth was perfect but my fiance’s extra spicy broth was too much to handle. She was sniffling the whole time and couldn’t even drink her broth after awhile. We had to ask our waiter for more regular broth to offset the spiciness of her broth.

So overall, I would give this place a 7/10 as I told my fiance. It’s your “regular” type of ramen. Nothing really stands out in the broth and ramen. What made this stand out was the meat. The char-siu and pork belly was probably one of the most tender meats I’ve had at a ramen restaurant. It literally melts in your mouth. But beware, it’s very fatty and that is probably the reason for it being so tender. The ramen and broth is sufficient enough so it will hit the spot if you’re craving ramen but nothing outstanding. The broth is creamy but lacked that robust flavor that you find at Ramen Dojo or Kirimachi. The noodles were good but not the best. It was on the thinner side and didn’t seem to have that homemade noodle consistency. I suggest, as with all my reviews, to give Saiwaii a try. You might like it more than I do and find that this is your favorite ramen spot like my fellow noodle lover that I met at the Food Buzz Festival. As always, let me know what you think!

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