2014 Ramen Round-Up: Outside California Edition

It’s true, California (including Northern California) has a lot of ramen. But I also like to sample the local varieties when I go out of state (and of course, when I’m so lucky, out of the country). Here are twelve bowls–mostly of ramen, plus some other noodle delicacies–I’ve eaten outside California in the past couple of years.

Belly bowl, Lucky Belly (Honolulu): I'm not really into the ramen back home, but I think this hipster-dipster spot in Chinatown does a decent job. Good presentation, but too much seaweed (per usual in Hawaii)

Belly bowl, Lucky Belly (Honolulu): I’m not really into the ramen back home, but I think this hipster-dipster spot in Chinatown does a decent job. Good presentation, but too much seaweed (per usual in Hawaii)

Tan tan men, Ichiban Boshi (Sydney, NSW): there were a good number of choices for ramen in Downtown Sydney when I visited Australia in December 2012. This was by far my favorite! The flavors were just right.

Tan tan men, Ichiban Boshi (Sydney, NSW): there were a good number of choices for ramen in Downtown Sydney when I visited Australia in December 2012. This was by far my favorite! The flavors were just right.

Saimin, Like Like Drive-Inn (Honolulu): not ramen, but in fact my favorite saimin in Hawaii. Long before I became obsessed with a good bowl of ramen, I grew up in Hawaii eating saimin at least once a week.

Saimin, Like Like Drive-Inn (Honolulu): not ramen, but in fact my favorite saimin in Hawaii. Long before I became obsessed with a good bowl of ramen, I grew up in Hawaii eating saimin at LEAST once a week!

Brooklyn blend, Ramen.Co (Manhattan, NY): a super tasty bowl from my friend Keizo Shimamoto's (aka creator of the Original Ramen Burger) restaurant debut in NYC's Financial District

Brooklyn blend, Ramen.Co (Manhattan, NYC): a super tasty bowl from my friend Keizo Shimamoto’s (aka creator of the Original Ramen Burger) restaurant debut in NY’s Financial District

Spicy shrimp tonkotsu, Menya Ifu Do Do (Honolulu): Some say this is the best ramen shop in Hawaii. $14 for food court ramen? I say, not my fave.

Spicy shrimp tonkotsu, Menya Ifu Do Do (Honolulu): some say this is the best ramen shop in Hawaii. $14 for food court ramen? I say, not my fave. Located in Shirokiya Department Store in Ala Moana

Hakata shio, Ramen.Co (Manhattan, New York): another bowl from Keizo's restaurant, sans the artisinal hipstery flavor found in the previous blend

Hakata shio, Ramen.Co (Manhattan, NYC): another bowl from Keizo’s restaurant, sans the artisinal hipstery flavors found in the previous blend

Akamaru special, Ippudo (Sydney, NSW): for our first lunch in Australia we made a beeline for the recently opened (at the time) Ippudo restaurant in the Westfield Mall Downtown. It's Ippudo. You really can't go wrong.

Akamaru special, Ippudo (Sydney, NSW): for our first lunch in Oz we made a beeline for the recently opened (at the time) Ippudo restaurant in the Westfield Mall Downtown. It’s Ippudo. You really can’t go wrong.

Shrimp kim chee bowl, Lucky Belly (Honolulu): I actually like the spicy kick in this one more than the afore-pictured Belly Bowl. The shrimp has a nice crunch to it, too

Shrimp kim chee bowl, Lucky Belly (Honolulu): I actually like the spicy kick in this one more than the afore-pictured Belly Bowl. The shrimp has a really nice crunch to it, too

Tonkotsu ramen, Mirakutei (Portland, OR): I was convinced good ramen was nowhere to be found in the PDX and was pleasantly surprised with this decent bowl of tonkotsu

Tonkotsu ramen, Mirakutei (Portland, OR): I was convinced good ramen was nowhere to be found in the PDX and was pleasantly surprised with this decent bowl of tonkotsu

Shio ramen, Aloha Ramen (Seattle): on the other hand, if you doubt good ramen exists in Seattle... you're actually right

Shio ramen, Aloha Ramen (Seattle): on the other hand, if you doubt good ramen exists in Seattle… you’d actually be right about that one

Tsukemen, Santouka (Bellevue, WA): but I guess there's always Santouka. There's a stand-alone location just south of Seattle in Bellevue, and on our most recent trip there we decided to try the tsukemen, a new item on the menu. The broth was too salty and not thick and creamy enough to coat the noodles when dipped... they should stick to what they know.

Tsukemen, Santouka (Bellevue, WA): but I guess there’s always Santouka. Tsukemen was a new item on the menu at the Bellevue stand-alone (just east of Seattle). The broth was too salty and not thick and creamy enough to coat the noodles when dipped… testimony Santouka should stick to what they know: ramen!

Okinawa soba, Utage (Honolulu): again, not ramen, but I get super nostalgic for Okinawa sometimes. Hawaii wins in that department.

Okinawa soba, Utage (Honolulu): again, not ramen, but I get super nostalgic for Okinawa sometimes. Hawaii wins in that department.

One more ramen update to go! I think you’ll like the last one best… I know I do…. ;)

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