Noodle News: A Boom of Ramen and Udon in San Francisco

The best new spots to slurp a meal-in-a-bowl in the Bay Area

Everyone loves noodles, especially Japanese noodles. This year in San Francisco you’ll find new and creative ramen, including Yo-Kai Express ramen vending machines, Ippudo, a Japanese trendsetter and the self-proclaimed king of ramen, and soon-to-open Ramenwell in the Mission, where the menu will feature tantanmen ramen, made with chili and sesame oil.



Ramen isn't the only Japanese noodle making waves. An outpost of the largest udon noodle chain in the world, Marugame, has opened in Stonestown Galleria. Served in an upscale cafeteria-like setting, the slippery, thick noodles are made daily onsite from a machine imported from Japan. The 10 different bargain-priced bowls come with toppings such as curry, sweet gyudon style beef, spicy chicken or a unique combination of edamame and salsa.

Ippudo's noodles are made onsite
Ippudo's noodles are made onsite (Courtesy Ippudo)


The most famous Japanese ramen shop makes noodles onsite, and diners can order them in varying degrees of firmness. Specialties include tonkotsu, miso and spicy broth. The Yerba Buena Lane location also offers izakaya style snacks and sake.

Yo-Kai Express

Ramen is now available in 45 seconds from a vending machine. You’ll find two flavors to choose from, including rotating specials like black garlic. The first San Francisco location is at the Metreon, with planned locations at SFO.

Yo-Kai Express Black Garlic Oil Ramen
Black Garlic Oil Ramen (Courtesy Yo-Kai Express)