Marufuku Ramen is the most recent newcomer in the up-and-coming East Bay ramen scene. Originally from San Francisco, Marufuku is easily the best noodle shop Oakland has seen for a long time. If you're a fan of unctuous, well-balanced ramen or have just educated yourself on what real ramen is, you're absolutely going to love what this shop has to offer.

Back in February, Marufuku silently slid into a vacant space along Telegraph Avenue in Oakland's Temescal neighborhood. Despite its quiet entrance, the ramen-loving crowd has already started to descend. 


Kaitlan Tseng

The restaurant was quite large, with tables seating two to four people, a large communal table, and a fun ramen bar overseeing the open kitchen. The ambience of the space was sleek with soft, dim lights and sharp wood accents throughout the room. It felt comfortable, modern, and sleek, evoking the restaurant's clear attention to quality and detail.

The large open kitchen, with its many ramen chefs masterfully working on their craft, filled the room with an umami-accented aroma that had a symbiotic relation with the design of the space. The scent, lighting, and design all worked to sweep me away from the outside and into a self-contained ramen experience. 


Kaitlan Tseng

Despite the multitude of names ahead of us, the wait didn't feel long at all. After being seated, the brief menu made ordering quick and concise. There were two types of ramen: a chicken-based Paitan and a pork-based Hakata Tonkotsu. Spice levels ranged from "No Spicy" to "Ultra Spicy." In addition to the two types of ramen, there was a "DX," or extra topping, option available for each dish, such as braised pork belly or grilled chicken leg. Besides ramen, there were also enticing small rice bowls and appetizers including takoyaki, edamame, braised pork belly, and a salad. 

Since Marufuku prides itself in rich, long-simmered ramen, I opted for one Paitan and Tonkotsu in the "DX" style. When the food quickly and efficiently arrived, the milky-white broth glistened only as a full-bodied broth would. Speckled with green onions, corn, and meat, the composition of the bowl felt professional and well thought-out. 

The Ramen

Kaitlan Tseng

The thin, straight Hakata-style noodles distinguished themselves from the broth with their addictive chew. The Tonkotsu's simmered chashu pork belly and the Paitan's chicken chashu were both delicate and provided a well-rounded addition to the bowl of noodles and broth. 

All the components of the dish united with each additional bite. Every element evoked the deep care and thought of the kitchen in every serving. The broth, achingly flavorful in its heavily developed profile, was imbued with the purest essence of quality meat. The corn, slightly sweet, came through in its bursting pop as it accented the deep umami of the broth and meat. The green onions, pleasantly crisp, provided an invigorating counterbalance to the more rich notes of the bowl.

It was the epitome of what ramen should be: a comforting experience of luxurious, almost creamy, soup that was enlivened with delicate toppings and fortified with noodles and meat.

Kaitlan Tseng

The surprising highlights though, were the protein additions that came along with the "DX" versions of the Paitan and Tonkotsu. The Tonkotsu's braised pork belly was unbelievable in its fall-apart texture. The meat that easily pulled apart with the swipe of a chopstick, had an intense pork flavor delicately accentuated with garlic, soy, and ginger.

The Paitan's grilled chicken leg was also a true standout. Arriving on a heavy-bottomed platter atop gently cooked bean sprouts, the whole leg sparkled with a skin deeply colored from its marinade of soy and Five-spice. It was perfectly grilled with a well-seared skin encasing tender, delectable meat. 

Everything, from Marufuku's menu to the ambience, was emblematic of a top-grade noodle establishment. Service, fast and efficient, made the seemingly long wait doable and the food itself made me eager to return. This place undoubtedly has the quality and standards to be the next favorite ramen spot of the East Bay. Next time you're craving the warmth of noodles, velvety broth, expertly prepared meat, and have cycled through dorm ramen recipes, head to Marufuku. You and your friends won't regret it for a second.