Richie Nakano carefully chooses what goes into his ramen, and ultimately, what goes in your belly after a visit to Hapa Ramen. We asked him all about their ingredients and put together this handy guide that will help you match flavor to farm the next time you order a slow-cooked pork ramen bowl or take-home kit.
1. Organic "egg" noodles are made up of water and flour, but also have organic egg and whey powders to make them richer and firmer without adding extra moisture.
2. Delicata squash from Full Belly Farm is one of four gourds Hapa Ramen uses in the fall (the others are kabocha, sweet dumpling, and butternut). It's their first choice because it's the sweetest and its sugars caramelize to deepen flavors the darker it roasts.
3. Spigarello from Marquita replaces what would traditionally be seaweed. It's a brassica which is basically a broccoli that has large leaves and tiny flowers. Other greens they use are kale and chard, but spigarello is the clear favorite.
4. Pork belly from Llano Seco, an organic pork purveyor out of Chico, comes from lean hogs that get slaughtered every Tuesday to be ready for use by Thursday. "I think they're some of the nicest pigs available right now," says Nakano.
5. The broth is a mix of dashi, chicken, and pork, boiled really hard, then finished with garlic, black pepper, tahini, and a little bit of miso. There is no added salt or soy because each individual component is seasoned to allow the broth to stand on its own.
6. Watermelon radish from Marquita is the only raw ingredient besides scallions from Everlasting Gardens. It mimics daikon and adds spicy and sweet notes to the soup.
7. Organic eggs from Glaum Egg Ranch in Santa Cruz are cooked at 62.5 degrees Celsius for an hour to cook through and prevent hardening.