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Oct 27, 2006 08:20 AM

Hiyashi Chuka Ramen @ Maru Ichi in Mountain View

On a warm day last month, I stopped by Maru Ichi to try the cold ramen. Not listed on the menu or on the day's specials board, I asked my waitress for hiyashi chuka with hard noodles and she didn't skip a beat.

Attractively presented, the tangy and fresh flavors were bright as the vivid color palette of the toppings. I added the citrusy dressing from the cruet and mixed in part of the dab of hot mustard for extra bite. The housemade noodles were meant for this prep. The cool, springy tangle of ramen showed much better than in the soupy format. Delicious and refreshing, the blend of beni shoga (red pickled ginger), seaweed salad, julienne of cucumbers, sesame seeds, shredded toasted nori (dried seaweed), seasoned egg, and fatty roast pork was a study in contrasts against the blankness of the noodle base. The sprightly dressing enlivened every note.

Usually available during the summer, Maru Ichi said the cold version of ramen would be served as long as the temperatures stay high. This was my favorite among the versions of hiyashi chuka offered by Ryowa, Himawari, Gen, or Tanto. It still bugs me that there's a charge for tea here, but this performance raises Maru Ichi to the #5 position.

Image of cold ramen -

Maru Ichi Noodle House
368 Castro St
Mountain View 94041

Kuro ramen at Maru Ichi -

1. Ramen Halu, 375 Saratoga Ave Ste M, San Jose
2. Santa, 805 S B St, San Mateo
3. Ryowa, 2068 University Ave, Berkeley
4. Himawari, 202 2nd Ave, San Mateo
5. Maru Ichi, 368 Castro St, Mountain View
6. Ryowa, 859 Villa St, Mountain View
7. Tanto, 1063 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
8. Do-Henkotsu House of Tokushima Ramen, 4330 Moorpark Ave, San Jose
9. Gen Ramen, 47890 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont
10.BY Grill, 3226 Geary Blvd, San Francisco (closed
)11.Norikonoko, 2556 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley
12.Hana, 4320 Moorpark, San Jose
13.Katanaya, 430 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
14.Masa's Sushi, 400 San Antonio Road, Mountain View
15.Gochi, 19980 Homestead Rd, Cupertino
16.Oyaji, 3123 Clement St, San Francisco
17.Maru Ichi, 530 Barber Lane, Milpitas
18.Hatcho, 1271 Franklin Mall, Santa Clara
19.Tomoe, 810 3rd St, San Rafael (closed)
20.Ringer Hut, 1072 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
21.Izakaya Mai, 212 2nd Avenue, San Mateo
22.Kumako, 211 E. Jackson Street, San Jose
23.Ramen Club, 723 California Dr, Burlingame
24.Tazaki Sushi, 3420 Judah St, San Francisco
25.Ramen Rama, 19774 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino
26.Ogi-San Ramen, 10789 Blaney Ave, Cupertino
27.Kaimuki Grill, 104 S El Camino Real, San Mateo
28.Tanto, 1306 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
29.Okazu Ya SF (Noriega), 2445 Noriega St, San Francisco
30.King's Garden Ramen, 39055 Cedar Blvd, Newark (closed)
31.Sushi Bistro, 445 Balboa St, San Francisco
32.Mitsuwa Hokkaido festival booth, 675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
33.Lakuni, 325 E 4th Ave, San Mateo
34.100% Healthy Desserts, 1155 Taraval St., San Francisco
35.Mifune, 1737 Post St, San Francisco
36.H2A Noodle, 42318 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
37.Iroha, 1728 Buchanan St, San Francisco
38.Miraku Noodles, 2131 N Broadway, Walnut Creek
39.Manpuku, 2977 College Ave, Berkeley
40.Tanpopo, 1740 Buchanan Street, San Francisco
41.Sushi Yoshi, 39261 Cedar Blvd, Newark
42.La Shang Niang Ramen (OEC), 42 Dixon Rd, Milpitas
43.Oidon, 71 E. 4th Avenue, San Mateo
44.Taraval Okazu Ya, 1735 Taraval St., San Francisco
45.Suzu Noodle House, 1581 Webster Street, San Francisco
46.Sapporo-ya, 1581 Webster St, San Francisco
47.Tokyo Ramen, 678 Barber Lane, Milpitas (closed)
48.Kamakura, 2549 Santa Clara Ave, Alameda
49.Mama-san!, 312 8th Ave, San Francisco
50.Katana-ya Ramen, 10546 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito
51.Hotei, 1290 9th Ave, San Francisco
52.Bear's Ramen House, 2521 Durant, Berkeley

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  1. This rendition is definitely a lot more refined than the other cold noodles at other places, e.g. Ryowa. The dressing has a hint of ponzu flavor to it, but in some ways it is not, but does wonders to enhance the flavors.

    I never got to try the hiyashi chuka ramen at Halu though, they were touting it all summer long. Anyone had this there and at Maruichi's version, and can say which one is better?

    Slightly off topic: one small tip regarding the seasonal aka miso ramen (and maybe even the hiyashi chuka ramen): if you ask for this at the MV Maruichi, they may tell you it is no longer avaialble. However I was told that this ramen requires two people to make (dunno why) so if you arrive on a day that is not terribly busy, they might just make it for you. I think basically it is just their miso flavored ramen, seasoned with more la yu (red chili oil) and a few other things, so basically a more lively bowl of stock noodle soup.

    1 Reply
    1. re: K K

      I had tsukemen at Halu this summer. Here's the post -

      Never tried hiyashi chuka ramen there. My favorite of the summer specials was Halu's cold shio stock last year, totally brilliant.

    2. According to a resurfaced post, pumpkin ramen is back at Halu. I'm going to visit tomorrow.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cary

        Definitely rush to Halu to get the pumpkin ramen. I had it Friday for lunch.

      2. Had dinner on Thurs 8/9/07 here.

        Ice water given right away.

        I had the summer cold noodle special called hiyashi-chuka, $8.90. It comes w/ a hard-broiled egg, cucumbers, corn, seaweed, some roast pork, bamboo shoots, red pickled ginger...oh they don't mention the most evil, evil, evil thing they put in there is a Spicy as Hell Mustard, think Yellow Wasabi that my hubby warned me about since he tried it recently, it's all u taste if u get it. I asked them to put it on the side and it Saved My Life!

        I tried the mustard and it's Too Spicy for me, good thing it was on the side in it's own little dish so I didn't add it to my entire bowl. Sauce it a little ceramic bottle was separate and put that in my bowl, bland but ok.

        Hubby got:

        Combo C $9.95 - miso ramen (u pick the ramen flavor u want) plus a bowl of rice w/ 1 of the following: eel, white tuna, chashu or negitoro. I wanted white tuna so that's what he picked. 3 small pieces of white tuna over rice w/ side of ginger. Tuna was ok, wish there were more of it. He liked the miso ramen ok, not his favorite.

        CASH ONLY place. Total before tip was about $20.

        3 Replies
        1. re: hhc

          Odd that yuzu could be called bland . . .

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Oh interesting, no wonder I couldn't tell if it was lemon ponzu or not. So this is a yuzu based ponzu, hopefully made in house?

            Too bad hhc's tastebuds got plastered with too much mustard, so couldn't appreciate the subtleties of the yuzu. Doh!

            1. re: K K

              It may depend on citrus availability. For mine, the fragrance and touch of bitter in the finish said yuzu to me.

        2. oooo, I've now had the cold ramen at katana-ya twice and i love it. (#13 on your list) - very much the same toppings. also with tomago, some salad leaves with a mayo dressing, delicious pork, small bits of tasty fried tempura. Really heavenly.

          1. link

            Maru Ichi Restaurant
            368 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

            4 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              is maruichi still serving the cold ramen now? (in 2008?)

              1. re: thejulia

                Yes! I walked by, and now they have a picture of the hiyashi chuka prominently showing when you pass the restaurant. I saw it right after I had read this post and had seen Melanie's pics. In fact, I remember passing by the picture this weekend and wondering if they just printed her picture! (But probably not. I think their bowl didn't have the mustard on the side.)

                  1. re: thejulia

                    I was in Milpitas, Ranch 99 shopping center, and noticed a Maruichi right next to the Fantasia drink place - is this same owner as the MV one? Anyone tried it?