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Feb 11, 2007 06:48 PM

SJ Japantown report w/ pics: Shuei-Do Manju Shop & Kumako Ramen

I went to Kumako Ramen because I've not tried it yet, couldn't get into Nijiya Market on grand opening day Sun 2/11/07(refused to wait over 1hr+), and I like ramen.

The older Japanese man opened up the place about 15 minutes before he had to, the sign said 11:30am and was just waiting outside, but then he put out the open sign and let me in. I was the first person and he took my order. Nice.

I got the Curry Ramen $8.95 plus a side of gyoza $4.00. The curry ramen comes w/ 2 thick small slabs of pork, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, ramen, and the curry broth. The broth is salty (like all ramen places), the noodles were ok-I like Ramen Halu's, meat just ok-had better elsewhere.

The side of gyoza are yummy. They are served hot & fresh, on the small side, with nice browning, though not crispy which I like. I don't know if the sauce was very salty or the gyoza, but it was still good. Recommended.

Total was $14 Before Tip. They take Credit Cards which I like.

One unisex bathroom way up in front it seems so everyone knows when your going, though I didn't check it out.

Time visited: 1

Melanie's report:

Kumako Ramen
211 E. Jackson Street
San Jose, CA 95106
(408) 286-2111
I didn't see the all the days/hrs open, but they are Open on Sun at 11:30am.
Shuei-Do Manju Shop
217 Jackson St
San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 294-4148

Went here to get a sweet, picked the Monaka $1.30 each. It's kinda soft and doughy though it looks like a crispy cookie (fakes me out everytime) w/ a sweet red bean (azuki) paste inside. Ate it in about 4 bites.

CASH ONLY! Closed Mon.

my pics:

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  1. We went to the San Jose Japantown farmers market this past Sun. and I was pleasantly surprised w/ what I discovered. Being offered free ice-cold lemonade on a warm day right when we got there was a good start. The market is scheduled from 8:30-12:00 every Sun. Even though we didn't get there till after 11:30am, it looked pretty full and active. Vendors were trying to unload their wares before packing up, so they were offering good deals. A big bag of red and green grapes (probably about 10 lbs) for $3, for instance.

    There were some really nice-looking Asian veggies, and I bought a variety of eggplants, okra, and the perkiest, freshest stalks of lemongrass that I've ever seen. Stone fruit from Hamada Farms was all $1/lb. and nearby competitors charged the same. This is the cheapest price I've seen this year at a farmers market for stone fruit. Nectarines and plums combined w/ some peaches from my in-laws' tree made for a glorious fruit crisp that evening. Squash blossoms I bought from Yerena Farms ($2 for 18) came to life on a homemade pizza the next night. Unlike most blossoms I've encountered, they had a distinctive yet delicate flavor.

    Samples were abundant at this market. Vendors were really friendly and seemed to enjoy and expect a little bargaining. I believe that many farms were from the Fresno and Sacramento areas. I don't remember seeing any organic-certified producers, but I think that Yerena Farms is organic (?). I probably spent half of what I spend on fruit and veggies at my regular farmers market in the Santa Cruz area, but left w/ twice as much stuff. The myth that farmers markets are too expensive for the average person is dispelled here. I still prefer my other market for its sheer size and variety, but wow, these low prices at a farmers market gave me reverse sticker shock. It's a small neighborhood market that I'd like to return to when in the area. I didn't make it to the market at Blossom Hill in the Princeton Plaza (from 10-2 Sun) since we were short on time, but next time...

    We wandered down Jackson street for a few min. Bought some manju from the manju shop, and it was a lovely little sweet treat as always. The ladies there are so sweet too. I was tempted to get some shave ice from them, but I wanted to save my appetite for lunch back at home.

    This was my first time to Nijiya market since they opened, and it was bright, clean, and well-stocked for a relatively small store. Everything looked nice and fresh. I bought a small package of thinly-sliced kurobuta pork ($6.99/lb) to add to my MIL's hotpot spread for dinner that night. It was delicious and reminiscent of a delicate, unsmoked bacon.

    I was bummed that San Jose Tofu was closed. Kumako is still there and was open for lunch. I've got to finally try Gombei and that nearby Ethiopian restaurant one day. Any news on Brett Yasukawa's (formerly of Yasu) whereabouts?

    Shuei-Do Manju Shop
    217 Jackson St, San Jose, CA

    Nijiya Market
    240 Jackson St, San Jose, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: Carb Lover

      CL, thanks much for your update on Japantown and especially the report on the local farmers market. It sounds like my kind of market and I'll have to try to get there soon.

      Last web trail (May 2007) of Brett Yasukawa points toward the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel . . . anything more recent than that?

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Thanks for the lead on Yasukawa, Melanie; perhaps he decided to not open his own place again after all. I regret not trying his food at Yasu. The gyoza at Yasu's successor, Kumako, looks worth trying for a post-market snack.

        The Japantown market is pretty small but had a nice vibe on a late summer day. That area can be eerily dead, so it was nice to see people out in the streets forming a small community. My FIL who doesn't usually shop at farmers markets and we joke is "price sensitive" even thought the prices were fair and decent. He was happy w/ the extremely fresh jicama he found.

      2. re: Carb Lover

        It sounds like a nice little farmers market. Maybe the low prices had to do with going at the end. WHen I was at Oakland's Grand Lake Farmers Market about a half hour before closing, the stone fruit was marked down to $1. lb.

        211 Jackson St, San Jose, CA 95112

        San Jose Japantown Farmers Market
        566 N 6th St, San Jose, CA

        1. re: rworange

          Maybe they were discounted prices, but the "$1.00/lb" signs looked like they had been there all morning. Some vendors might have even taken 75 cents a pound if I had the inclination to haggle. The grapes were definitely discounted on a case-by-case basis. I'll have to get an earlier start next time to see the full array...