One of my favorite places to eat at when I visited Oakland last summer was Marufuku Ramen, so I had to try it again when I took a trip up to the Bay Area last week. Marufuku is a cozy, contemporary restaurant that serves ramen, rice bowls and an assortment of different alcoholic beverages. I knew this place would be packed, so I got on the Yelp waitlist right when it opened, and my wait time was already 45 minutes. 

To pass the time, my friends and I walked along the street the restaurant was located on because it had a ton of other cool food spots and quirky stores. After 30 minutes of waiting, we were pretty “hangry,” especially since we had just arrived from Los Angeles after a six-hour drive. We stumbled upon a casual cafe, Cholita Linda, that served an array of Mexican food. We decided to grab a quick bite while waiting for our table at Marufuku Ramen, and this place really did not disappoint. We each ordered one Baja fish taco, which seemed like its most popular item. 

Winnie Lam / Daily Nexus

The tacos were amazing with the crispy fried fish, crunchy cabbage slaw and light crema on top. I really liked that the portions were generous, as I had to take huge bites just to finish my taco. Cholita Linda is a great place to have a casual lunch or dinner while catching up with friends, and I’d definitely come back to try their other menu items. In the end, I was kind of glad that Marufuku Ramen had such a long wait time because I stumbled upon this amazing taco spot as a result.

Winnie Lam / Daily Nexus

Right after finishing our little appetizer at Cholita Linda, our table for ramen was ready. Marufuku’s menu is incredibly simple, which I appreciate because it shows that it focuses on perfecting the quality of a few dishes rather than putting moderate effort into a vast assortment of dishes. It only had four options for its ramen, and I went with the Hakata Tonkotsu DX which came with a rich pork broth, two types of pork belly, a soft boiled egg, green onions, mushrooms, bean sprouts, corn and seaweed. You can choose the level of spiciness for your ramen, and there’s a container of spice on every table just in case you want your broth to be even spicier. The ramen was pretty pricey since it had so many ingredients, so I decided to share it with a friend, and we just ordered a plate of extra noodles so we’d both be full.

Now, I’ve been to plenty of ramen places, but this place has got to be one of my top three favorites. The superstar of this ramen is its broth. You can tell that Marufuku has spent so much time and effort perfecting it because it is just the right balance between being too watery and too creamy and you can really taste the pork flavor that also coats itself around the ramen noodles. The combination of the broth, noodles and various toppings hits the spot, making this bowl of ramen the ultimate comfort food. 

Overall, Marufuku Ramen was the perfect place to dine at after an extensive drive up to Oakland. Although the wait is long, it’s definitely worth it, and I’d say both of these places are must-tries if you’re ever in the area.

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