Xan has been obsessed with all things Momofuku for a while. About a year ago we watched the first season of Mind of a Chef on Netflix, which stars David Chang and Xan has been hooked ever since. It was a really good season – I highly recommend it. Last Friday Xan announced that he wanted to go to a specific grocery store in Japantown to buy the [semi]instant Ramen that David Chang uses. He talked about it all weekend, but I wasn’t convinced. In fact, I wasn’t even going to tag along, but after several straight days of rain a little venture out of the house sounded nice.
So, on Sunday we took a trip to the Japan Center Malls. We’ve only been to Japantown a couple times and it’s always for Ramen. We’d heard of this mall and while eating our Ramen would speculate about where it could be, but never more than that. Well, Xan’s instant ramen craving led us straight to it!
It’s a really cool, authentic (I think? I’m definitely not the expert, though) shopping center with all kinds of shops and restaurants. It was so different than anything we usually do which made exploring extra fun. In some ways it actually felt like you were in another country, so you get that refreshing feeling of trying something new almost as if you had actually traveled. If you decide to try it I recommend getting there around when the time they open and wandering in and out of shops. Daiso was fun. It was like a dollar store with waaaaay more stuff. I even got a sun hat for our upcoming trip to SoCal. I also recommend hitting the bookstore and then there are all the stores with teapots, paper lamps, and pretty Japanese paper. There are lots of food options both quick and sit-down. There’s noodles, sushi, katsu, etc. And if none of that tickles your fancy walk a block to the cluster of ramen shops off Sutter Street. All along the way there are cool murals and other Japanese art installations. If you’re looking to make your own Japanese food at home I recommend a stop at Nijiya Market. Xan picked up several obscure ingredients for homemade ramen broth that he wouldn’t be a able to find at a traditional grocery store. Oh, and of course he picked up some of the ramen that started it all. Which we had with dinner a couple nights later and I have to say, it was delicious!