Every Thursday, Hapa Ramen sets up shop (well, tent really) outside the Ferry Building in SF for the farmers market rush. I had read about Hapa on several blogs and was determined to get it for lunch today. It also helped that I’ve been craving ramen for the last 3 weeks so from the moment I woke up I knew my goal was to make it to lunch for some appetite warming ramen.
The line for Hapa Ramen wasn’t bad at all. I waited around for maybe 10 minutes to order, another few minutes to get my order and begin eating. Now some of you may think waiting 10 minutes in line is already horrible, but you’re talking to someone who waited almost an hour for Roli Roti (also at the farmers market…more on that later) and waited an hour and a half for Shake Shack in New York, so a ten minute wait wasn’t a deal breaker for me. If it’s good, I’m willing to wait.
I have to be honest and say that for all the rave reviews I’ve read about Hapa, I was a little bit underwhelmed. I ordered the “Big Daddy” which had a bit of everything from the menu – slow cooked pork, fried chicken, and a slow cooked egg. The broth was pretty good – lots of flavor (probably also lots of MSG). The pork was…ok. The chicken was also pretty good but it didn’t wow me. The noodles had a nice texture that was bouncy but not too tough. The best thing about the bowl of ramen was the slow cooked egg. I loveeee poached and slow cooked eggs and this one was made pretty perfectly – still runny but not enough that it would break apart and get everywhere in the soup.
But like I said, this bowl of ramen didn’t wow me. And it wasn’t that big. And if a bowl of ramen is going to cost me $11 and it’s not even that big, it sure as hell better wow me to get a good review. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to say I was thoroughly disappointed. I’ve had better ramen from lots of different places.
If you do decide to try Hapa Ramen for yourself though because you don’t want to take my word for it, then here are a few tips I would recommend. First, don’t get the “Big Daddy” (bowl of ramen with everything). You’ll only get a little bit of of each and you won’t be satisfied. If I were to choose one, the fried chicken was definitely better than the pork. Definitely get the slow cooked egg (it’ll cost you an extra $1 since it is only included in the Big Daddy). I would also consider trying on of the drinks on their menu – looked interesting but I didn’t try it. But my biggest recommendation? Get there earlier and just wait in line for Roli Roti! (For those who don’t know, Roli Roti serves a mean Porchetta sandwich, and it is hands down the best sandwich I have ever eaten in my entire life, no doubt about it. Will write a review about it once I get better pictures).
So with Hapa Ramen, that makes 7 food places I’ve tried either in the Ferry Building or right outside at the farmers market (the others being Roli Roti, Slanted Door, Hog Island Oyster Co., Taylor’s Automatic, Namu, Il Cano). I plan to finish off the rest soon!