One of the best things we have seen here at home in Sacramento is the rise of restaurateurs, foodies, entrepreneurs and self trained chefs. We recently had the pleasure to make it to The Nichijou Ramen pop up from its’ creator, David Chan who also happens to be an engineer by day. We met David previously at Device Brewing‘s soft opening in Midtown Sacramento, the topic of conversation revolved around entrepreneurship and food – a topic we both love! And speaking of entrepreneurship, this is not David’s first rodeo – his first pop up he did was in New York at a space called The Ramen Lab. Brave and impressive!
It was hot today, 95 degrees to be exact and we just finished devouring our cap’n crunch french toast (it’s cheat day!). It was sort of a preparation for the rest of the day and boy were we looking forward to having ramen, this heat wasn’t going to stop us! We arrived at his place at 11:30 and was immediately greeted by David and his soon to be wife (early congrats guys!), Kristie at the door. Additionally, inside we also met our community table with seating among esteemed guests: local chef Tak Abe, Jacob and Youtube star Seonkyoung Longest.
A small and intimate lunch – totally down for this. While David is working his magic in the kitchen, everyone conversates among each other and long story short, we are all folks passionate about food and will be opening up businesses in Sacramento – totally excited about this and more on this later. Eyes in the kitchen and the ingredients from the broth to noodles are all laid out in his own method of preparation and service. David strikes us as someone who has craftsmanship in ramen, if you follow him on social media, you can see he is quite particular on where he sources his ingredients and how we prepares the food overall.
Shio ramen was the flavor of the day, something not to heavy with a great balance of flavor. As we are over in the living space talking, Seonkyoung whips out her camera to record David going in on the Chashu with the Searzall! We know it’s serious business when you have the searzall out and not just an ordinary culinary torch – we make our way over there to capture the magic and everything else in the kitchen – all without getting int the way of course! While we get into the food, we should get into the details straight from David himself:
Shio ramen was the choice as it is not often served or done well in the states. When David elaborated on Shio ramen, he explained it as ‘salt’ in Japanese, something that is often seen as plain or not too appetizing – yet it is very complex. The broth (chintan) was done through chicken bones, garlic and onions – while the seasoning was comprised of dried + smoked fishes (katsuobushi and niboshi), sake, white wine, a splash of shiro shoyu (white soy sauce), and of course salt! I try to add enough of each ingredient so that it they are not overpowering, but synergize with each other. What I love about this style of ramen is that it is very light which allows you to taste every ingredient in the broth and it is not too heavy on the palette. Essentially a chicken noodle soup that soothes the soul.
He knows his ingredients as with Shio Ramen quality matters – you can’t hide behind it. His bones are sourced from the Sacramento Co-op or Taylors Market, ideally organic as you are pulling the flavor out of the chicken. David says if you have “unhealthy and unclean chicken, your broth will have muddled flavors.” The noodles he does make them himself here and there, but can be very labor intensive. His very good remedy for this is using good quality noodles from Sun Noodles. Oto’s is his stop for the rest of the ingredients of course! But I also overheard his conversation with local chef Tak about the eggs and some interesting details come out of it. It wasn’t just simply boiling eggs like us normal average Joes, there’s method to it.
I steam them for 7 minutes and quickly chill them in cold water. This will give you a nice creamy yolk texture. Typically when you boil eggs at home, the moment you drop cold eggs into the boiling water, the water cools slightly and stops boiling. By steaming the eggs, you have a consistent heat as the eggs are separated from the water with a steamer basket.
Damn this ramen was good, real good. David knows Sacramento is not the most abundant for ramen and hosting these small pop ups at his place in midtown allows him to share his vision. It was an opportunity for him to recreate a “small intimate setting to share my ramen and slow create a ramen community here in Sacramento.” Bravo David, bravo.