From vegan soy broth to rich tonkotsu broth, Tucson has options.
While dime packs of instant ramen provide a sodium-filled college nostalgia, they don’t provide fresh scallions, bouncy narutomaki, tart menma, custardy eggs, or slices of fatty pork.
And don’t forget about the fresh noodles or broth that requires hours of preparation.
Here are our picks for the best ramen joints in Tucson.
Ikkyu Japanese Restaurant
2040 W. Orange Grove Rd. Ste. 180
Ramen is only available at Ikkyu on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. A slice of slightly-chewy naruto provides a color contrast, while lean pork slices round off the bowl of Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen. If you want it spicier, each table has shakers of Japanese red pepper and bottles of Sriracha.
For more information, visit ikkyutucson.com.
K Japanese Restaurant
2962 N. Campbell Ave.
While sushi is the star here, you can build your own noodle soup by picking the soup base, noodle, and topping.
All soups come with sweet corn, bean sprout, fish cake, marinated boiled egg, seaweed, and ki-kurage (wood ear mushroom) by default.
For the three steps, try picking tonkotsu pork, ramen, and char siu.
Keep up with K Japanese Restaurant on Facebook.
MSA Annex, 267 S. Avenida del Convento. Ste. 11.
Kukai chef and partner Michael McCormack spent the past decade in Tucson’s Japanese food industry. His initial eight years were at Samurai, while the tail end of it was with Raijin Ramen. Influence from the two restaurants shows.
The ramen broth is Hakata-style, which is similar to thick, rich tonkotsu broth, but uses exclusively pork instead of a pork and chicken combination. The thick, intensely porky broth clings easily to the thin noodles, served with chashu pork, ginger, and green onion.
Get the ramen while you can; served on limited days only.
OBON Sushi + Bar + Ramen
350 E. Congress St.
While OBON is the hippest ramen option, it doesn’t sacrifice quality. The eponymous OBON Ramen features roasted pork shoulder, pork belly, bean sprouts, black garlic oil, and a 64º egg. Miso Corny features a rich pork broth, pork belly, corn wakame and brown butter suited for any time of year.
For more information, visit fukushuconcepts.com.
2955 E. Speedway Blvd.
Raijin Ramen is brought to you by the owners of Ginza Sushi.
While the Black Roasted Garlic Tonkotsu Ramen and Spicy Miso Ramen are among the most popular, the Veggie Ramen boasts a surprising amount of complexity and richness.
Keep up with Raijin Ramen on Facebook.
Yamato Japanese Restaurant
857 E. Grant Rd.
While Yamato is most known for their sushi, they also happen to serve three types of ramen — tonkotsu, miso, and shoyu.
Keep up with Yamato Japanese Restaurant on Facebook.