San Diego, CA

Wokou Ramen & Yakitori - Innovative Ramen Spot with Locations in Carmel Valley & Pacific Beach, San Diego

Joy Sun | @littlejoybigworld

Wokou Ramen is another quarantine gem -- one many stumbled upon during days of sheltering in place, in hopes of finding delicious, well-packed ramen not too far from home that also checks all the necessary covid precaution boxes. I found just that, as well as one of the most unique ramen joints I've ever come across. Where else can you get a bowl of Spicy Carnitas Ramen?!
Spicy Carnitas Ramen (sub chashu)Joy Sun

It was at Wokou that I had the best ramen I've ever had: their Spicy Carnitas Ramen - tonkotsu broth, carnitas, shredded chili, green onion, soft egg, lime, nori, chili oil, kaiware sprouts, kikurage, toasted garlic chips. I really wanted something spicy and this sounded like an excellent option, but I was extremely hesitant because I am of the firm belief carnitas do not belong in ramen! But the restaurant was gracious enough to let us substitute chashu instead of carnitas in the broth and it was so good.

I've also had their Tonkotsu Ramen - chashu pork, menma, green onion, nori, soft egg, toasted garlic, kikurage. So, basically the boring version of the Spicy Carnitas. Both ramen dishes were good, but the Spicy Carnitas was exploding with flavor. I've never quite had ramen like this and I don't need it to be that intense all the time, but it's delicious if you want to change things up!

What I really appreciated about the ramen is that it comes loaded! So many ramen places now charge you a base price of $11 and then charge you a buck for every topping you want to add. At Wokou, the ramen averages about $15 flat but comes with everything you could want: bamboo, wood ear, sprouts, ajitama (soft-boiled egg). Their ajitama is perfection. It's one of the most perfect ramen eggs I've had in a long time, which I was not expecting from Wokou, to be honest.

The broth is quality tonkotsu. They also have four types of noodles for your ramen, thick, thin, gluten-free, and vegan spinach. There's only an extra charge for the latter. The thick noodles are the best!

I've tried a couple other things from Wokou as well, like their sushi, karaage, chicken wings, and pork belly & wasabi chicken breast yakitori. They also have an extensive cocktail menu, which is also a rarity for ramen spots!

If traditional, authentic Japanese food is what you're looking for, you won't find it here. Rather, it's more of a Chinese/Japanese fusion with Southern California influence. Nothing wrong with that! You'll find things on their menu like dan dan noodles, bacon-wrapped asparagus and "tokyo tots", all definitely not Asian things. And yet, Wokou served up the best ramen I've yet to have in San Diego!

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SoCal native, matcha snob, boba expert. I'll be gallivanting my way around SD & OC to bring you the best small local businesses, underrated restaurants, and hot new establishments!

San Diego, CA

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