Food Review: Shoki Ramen

When I was growing up as an Air Force brat, I had the opportunity to travel to Misawa, Japan for my middle and high school years. Besides sushi, I was introduced to a delicious staple of the Japanese diet: ramen. This dish consists of noodles served in a meat or fish broth with various toppings such as onion sprigs, seaweed, egg or bamboo. Once I had tried the dish, I was hooked, and the cold winters of Northern Japan had me clamoring for ramen on a regular basis. Since the weather is finally getting colder for such food, I would like to share one of my favorite places to eat in Sacramento.

Alas, when I graduated and moved here to California, I had thought I lost the opportunity to savor the ramen I had grown up with in Japan. One day I was searching for a place to eat on my lunch break and came across Shoki Ramen on 24th Street off of Broadway. Curious, I ventured inside and was immediately greeted by the staff with a loud “Irasshaimase!” and I remembered my times in Japan.

I sat down and was given a short menu of various soups and noodle choices. The waiter explained to me the food is made from scratch and no additives were in the food.

I ordered the Tan Tan Men, a spicy broth and noodles with beef, onion sprig, bamboo and seaweed. With hesitation and an increased expectation of what it should taste like, I split my chopsticks and mixed the ingredients together to take my first bite.

Incredible, the amount of flavor put into the bowl encompasses all of the tastes blending perfectly without one overpowering the other. The noodles were cooked to perfection and had the spiciness of the broth had me sweating but enjoying the food I had discovered.

Since then, I have taken my family and friends there, and there have been no complaints. My father, a bigger food critic than me, was also hesitant on the food there, but once he took a bite, he was hooked. Everyone who has gone there has enjoyed the food and atmosphere conveyed by the staff.

The ramen broths available are the following: Shio (sea salt), Shoyu (soy sauce), Tan Tan Men (spicy), Tsuke (chilled ramen), soy milk, and a vegan option. There are also seasonal soups available such as tomato and curry. Options are available for those who are vegan, vegetarian or require gluten-free food, and the amount of oil and salt used in your broth could be less or more depending on your preference.

There are other options available if ramen is not your preference: there is chashu pork over rice and curry with rice. These options are also available as smaller dishes to prelude the ramen dish in what they call a “set.” The main focus of the place is ramen and everyone should try at least one soup dish from the establishment.

The small location is reminiscent of the old ramen houses in Japan, with limited seating and a kitchen visible from anywhere you are seated. The staff is friendly and is able to make suggestions based on customer preferences. They greet and thank customers in unison as dictated by Japanese traditions.

Prices are moderately priced, with the largest sized bowls priced under $9 and having a set with curry or chashu pork will add on another $2.50.

My personal preference: regular size Tan Tan Men, regular spice, with whole wheat noodles, three pieces of chashu pork and steamed cabbage in a set with a mini chashu pork over rice.

Overall, the restaurant chain offers a variety of delicious ramen styles for anyone willing to try them, the prices are reasonable and the experience overall offers an authentic Japanese vibe from the friendly staff which would leave customers full and satisfied.

Shoki Ramen has two locations in Sacramento:

House One – Cash Only

2675 24th St.

House Two – Debit/Credit Accepted

1201 R St.

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