Richie Nakano, a sous chef at nopa and well-known blogger, is now adding ramen-making badass to his list o’ talents. On Saturday May 8th is the public launch of HAPA RAMEN, a pop-up evening event at Coffee Bar. Nakano’s partner in the venture is Kitty Gallisa, a bartender at nopa. I’ve been lucky to attend one of his ramen test dinners, and let me tell you, there’s nothing like it in the city. He uses Becker Lane pork necks for the stock that he cooks slowly for four days at a low temp, which yields a unique broth since the flavor is right where dashi and pork meet in the middle: it’s meaty and smoky, yet delicate and balanced. As Nakano explains, it’s not meant to be overly rich, but still has a satisfying mouthfeel. The noodles are handmade (with the dough rested in vacuum bags), with sous-vide chashu pork shoulder from Llano Secco, an organic product from Chico. And then there’s the slow-cooked egg: no hard and blue yolk in this batch, oh no. Everything is organic, oh you know it. Be sure to read more about how he makes his ramen (and more) in this on-point article from The Bold Italic.
At the event, there will be a regular porky version and a vegetarian version offered for around $12 a bowl, and seats are first come, first served (no reservations). The buzz on this upcoming event has been steady, so come prepared for a busy one. Kitty will be doing beer and wine pairings, and DJ Denizen will be on the decks. Follow Hapa on Twitter for more details, including upcoming events.
It ends up Hapa Ramen is going to be part of the Thursday farmers market lunch clan (starting in mid-June!), and, big news, Nakano is leaving nopa in late June, after doing an amazing job there the past two years as a sous chef. While looking for a space to launch Hapa in the city (let’s wish them luck and I hope that it’s in my neighborhood, ahem), they will be doing more pop-ups in the future at other kitchens. And I love this statement from Hapa: “In the interest of contributing to our craft, Hapa Ramen will be an entirely ‘open source’ endeavor: every recipe will be shared freely.” Nice.
Oh, and as for the “hapa” name, here’s more on Wikipedia, but in a nutshell, it’s a Hawaiian term for someone of mixed Asian or Pacific Islander background—Richie is half-Japanese (his father is Hawaiian), so the name is an homage to his family ties. He said island culture and cuisine were a big part of his upbringing, in addition to his time working with Kelly Degala (another Hawaiian) at Pres a Vi. See you there, let’s slurp!
Saturday May 8, 2010 6pm–9pm http://haparamensf.com/ Coffee Bar 1890 Bryant St., San Francisco