Ramen shows it’s Milky/Chowdery side…in Alhambra.
I was tripping about on Twitter (working my political side, than my Foodie side, if you must know). An Tweet comes up from Clarissa Wei, someone who I consider to be the best writer on Chinese foodways in this city, period.
Anyway, Clarissa published a list of the Six Best Ramen places in the San Gabriel Valley. Well, of course, Clarissa knows of where she speaks when it comes to the SGV, so I took a look at the list.
Guess which one I hadn’t been to?
Yep, Foo Foo Tei.
Well, we can say six for six now.
Here’s what Clarissa said about Foo Foo Tei in her piece:
Foo Foo Tei has an unconventional selection of ramen. There’s Duck Ramen, Menudo Ramen, Mapo Tofu, Hot and Sour, and a variety that just features Oyster. With dozens of selections on their menu, it’s likely you’ll find something to satisfy your taste buds. The star dish is the #17 — the Nachatte Tonkotsu Ramen. It features fatty pieces of pork immersed in a creamy white soup.
Nachatte Tonkotsu Ramen, eh?
Creamy white stock, eh?
So, in search of this creamy white stock, I turn to Foo Foo Tei…
Clarissa recommended the one in Hacienda Heights, but…there’s one closer to me in good ol’ Alhambra. So, guess where I went?
I walked in, reasonably certain it was connected to the Hacienda Heights branch. (Their Website only lists Hacidena Heights as as location, not Alhambra). I picked up the menu, and…well. Nachatte Tonkotsu Ramen is still there at No. 17. I guess this is a branch from the same Ramen River.
Gotta say, the first vibe that struck me when I looked at the place was, of course, Chinese. Even the name Foo Foo Tei, sounds way more Chinese than any Ramen House I’ve ever been too. But you look at that menu, and you see all the Ramen, all the Curries.
Okay, the House Made Taro Chips, that strikes me as more Chinese. The Oyster and Egg Castard (or do you mean Custard)? Reminds me of the Oyster Omelettes you see in Taiwan. Cucumber pickled with sauce, that looks very Shanghainese.
C’mon. Kimchee?? For reals?
Whatever. Whatever I’m getting my bowl of sweet milky broth in a second. I’m happy as can be. Bring it on, Foo Foo Tei. Let’s get this San Gabriel Ramen quest completed!!!
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: But of course, I had to have the star of the show, the Nachatte Tonkotsu Ramen.
This was a good bowl. It was also an interesting bowl, because while it was a Tonkotsu Broth, the taste sensation for me, the thing I thought about over and over again while I was eating it…just a little…of New England Clam Chowder.
It’s a different taste overall, and it’s a good one. It’s almost hard to describe, hence my blend of Tonkotsu Broth and New England Clam Chowder. I added Corn because…well, I’m such a Yankee, and cotton a little toward Northern style Japanese. It’s good, and if the broth is super smokin’ hot, it’ll cool it down.
Yeah, I’ll have it again.
Then I went a different direction. I thought about getting Agedashi Tofu or Fried Tofu for the appetizer or side dish. But this time, I saw the Egg Cake sitting there, and I knew, I just had to have it.
So imagine, a scrambled egg omelette folder over and over on top of itself until it’s about an inch thick, then it’s cut into little inch squares, and covered with a taro or radish mush, and covered with sweet soy sauce. It was excellent, but…man, between the huge, huge bowl of Ramen, and eight pieces of this Egg Cake…man. Couldn’t finish it off.
But it was still awesome.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Foo Foo Tei is a pretty straight ahead restaurant. No big surprises.
It’s one of those places that shuts down after Lunch (2:30 pm), and ramps up again for Dinner (5:00 pm).
Apparently, it used to be a Malaysian restaurant, according to some Internet chatter. Is this true? Can anyone provide confirmation??
But the parking…
PARKING: Okay, couple things. One, there is a lot of construction on around Foo Foo Tei. They are building Mall from the ground up across the street, and it could cause a little chaos.
Foo Foo Tei sits across the street from the construction, on the same side of the street as the Edwards Cinema. From what I could tell in a quick drive around that side of the street, there isn’t much in the way of parking around the Theaters. At least not on the street I searched.
I wound up in the the exact same spot I parked at when I visited Izakaya Akatora. The completely free garage a half block away from Main Street, on First Street. (I think it’s called the First Street Garage). Anyway, park there, head up the alley, hang a left and cross the street. Bomb you’re there.
If the mall across the street gets finished, that too might (I stress might) be a place to stash your car as well.
But Free Parking is plentiful in Alhambra…so far.
Foo Foo Tei (Alhambra)
27 E. Main St.
Alhambra, CA 91801
Tel: (626) 940-5582
Tuesday-Sunday: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 5:30 – 9:30 pm