This was our second trip to Ramen Halu. We’ve been here before but it was so good the first time that we had to go back. Like most of America, I was very familiar with the packaged ramen noodles that were 10 for a dollar, but I never realized that ramen noodles were a real Japanese dish that could be so full of amazing flavor. Look here for some background on ramen.
We were the first ones through the door at 5:35pm on a Monday night and we were greeted with a loud greeting in Japanese. Everyone was busy getting the place ready for dinner service. The huge pots of broth were simmering on the stove in the back with the owner/cook working his magic to render that delicious pork flavor from the bones. The menu here is filled with all kinds of appetizers that I can’t wait to try on my next visit, but we were here for the large bowls of Tantan-Men ramen which is the seasonal ramen soup for summer. I have to borrow the quote from their website because it’s superior to anything I could possibly come up with.
Making it’s first appearance at HALU this summer, “ The mid-summer Tantan-Men ” is perfect during the hot summer in San Jose with its bold and deep spiciness that you can feel it deep in your body.
The deliciousness of the ingredients become alive from scratch : white sesame seeds are roasted to make the “ Chi-ma-jyan ” , 10 kinds of spices are blended to make the “ Ra-yu ” (spicy oil) . It is combined with our rich pork based soup, which consists of green and yellow onions, seaweed, garlic, and ginger, which is boiled for numerous hours.
This red, hot, spicy & healthy “ Tantan-Men “ makes you lively !
This Tantan-Men is topped with our special ” Niku miso ” which is made from ground pork, selected spices, and Tenmen-jan from Haccho miso, memma/ seasoned bamboo shoots, ho-rensou/spinach, kikurage/ear mushrooms, negi/ green onion, nori/seaweed, and pakuchi/cilantro.
There are also four other soups on the menu, all with different kinds of broth and different ingredients. I’ll give you a quick rundown, but visit the website for a full description.
- Sho-yu ramen Is a clear broth based on Dashi(Japanese traditional fish broth) and combined with chicken, pork and soy sauce.
- Shio ramen is similar to sho-yu only lighter in taste and color
- Halu ramen Their signature ramen is based on their rich pork broth with the addition of dashi and many vegetables. It’s a cloudy creamy brown soup, but in the best way possible.
- Tsuke-men This one is a plate of cold noodles served with a small bowl of rich smoky pork broth for dipping the noodles.
Our soup arrived only minutes after we had ordered it while the place began to fill up. When I took the picture of the interior the place was empty, but before we left almost every seat was full. If you’re worried about not finding a place to sit, don’t be. The turnover is pretty quick as the soup has been cooking on the stove for multiple hours and it is served fresh and fast, as the only thing to cook are the noodles. On top of the low cook time the service is good. Another little thing that we both enjoyed was the lemon flavored water. One thing to remember if you plan to eat at Halu is that they are open for lunch on Tuesday but closed for dinner service.
Zach: Ramen Halu has one of my favorite places to eat in San Jose or the rest of the Bay Area thus far. I’m a lover of porky goodness from way back and the pork soup base is out of this world in my opinion. I’ve tasted every soup on the menu and they are all excellent; outstanding even. I guess it just depends on what you’re in the mood for. My favorite is the Halu ramen, but the rich soup that they use for the Tsuke-men is very good as well. Another great thing is that you can request the amount of salt or fat in your soup. I usually get 3/4 salt and that’s about perfect. Highly recommended.
John: This place is one of my favorite finds, especially in the Stevens Creek area, where there are many eateries, but few that are worth returning to. I am also quite fond of the surfer decorations, with a couple Japanese-shaped surfboards on one wall and postcard-size framed ocean photos on the other. The Halu broth is amazing, though I agree with Zach about lowering the salt just a touch. I toy with the idea of asking for more fat in my broth, but I doubt my doctor would approve. The Tantan-men was my favorite, because it has more of a spice to it. As the website says, it gives you energy on hot summer days, which I found to be true while sitting through a lecture on legal ethics. Go for it, you won’t regret it.