Ramen chefs across San Diego are expanding their menu towards meat-free options. Bowls of soy milk-spiked miso and shimmering mushroom broths hold everything from a simple blend of vegetable to savory crumbles of Impossible Meat. While many kitchens rely on the ubiquitous spinach/kale vegan noodles, some have discovered the al dente pleasures of making their own eggless noodles. Whether seeking a light vegetable broth or an ultra rich sesame tantanmen, there’s plenty of vegan ramen worth slurping.Read More
Where to Find Vegan Ramen in San Diego
13 ramens that are full of flavor without meat
1. The Whet Noodle
Adject to their sushi flagship Wrench and Rodent, Davin and Jessica Waite’s The Whet Noodle helps capture kitchen scrap, converting them into the base for their selection of ramens. A gently hot and sour broth fills the Hangry Vagan where vegan spinach noodles bob below with three slaps of crispy tofu. Pink pickled radish break through the surface while scallion, burnt cabbage, bean sprouts, and shredded wood ear mushroom finished out the bowl.
2. Wokou Ramen & Yakitori
An auburn miso-shoyu broth holds tofu, wilts of spinach, and corn. Above it floats enoki mushrooms, kaiware and bean sprouts, green onions, shredded chili, and wide cuts of nori. The depths hide green spinach noodles. If you enjoy spice, be sure to request the pot of garlic chili oil (more garlic than chili). If not, try an add-on drizzle of black garlic oil to add complexity to the broth.
3. Menya Ultra
In the small kitchen, one station is dedicated to sauteing bean sprouts in a lick of sesame oil. The sprouts, brought to the brink of the smoke point, rises to the nose while the oil drips down into the vegan miso broth. Plopped on top comes green onion, wood ear mushroom, roasted sesame seeds and a cap of grated ginger. The springy noodles—made in-house of flour source from Hokkaido, Japan, salt, and alkaline lye water—are inherently vegan.
4. The Yasai: Vegan Japanese Experience
Contrasting the mildness of the veggie options at mother restaurant Rakiraki, The Yasai roars into the vegan ramen pool. “The Classic” pulls handcrafted noodles into a smokey broth topped with bamboo shoots, seaweed, grilled tofu cutlets, and charred kabocha squash, over wilted bean sprouts and green onions. A scattering of crunchy garlic chip finishes off the presentation.
5. Nishiki Ramen
Nishiki recently expanded their vegan offerings from one to four. Options span from a clear kelp broth spiked with tart ume plum to a frothy seasoned soy milk topped with slabs of tofu drizzled in chashu sauce and a float of tomato. House-made vegan noodles are available along with a “death sauce”—a potent blend of ghost peppers and Carolina Reapers.
6. Karami Ramen
The vintage charm of Karami Ramen veils the fiery bait waiting at each table. Pots of India and Korean chili paste stew next to garlic chips and chili oil. Applied lightly or in globs, the heat accents the mildness of the vegan seaweed and soy milk broth. In it swirls tofu, cabbage, corn, carrots, cherry tomato, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, green onion, and a waving sheet of nori over spinach noodles.
7. NoW sushi
San Diego’s premier all-vegan Japanese restaurant recently added ramen to the repertoire. The house made veggie broth come floating with wakame, bok choy, bamboo shoots, onion, and tempura mushroom over kale noodles. A crisp crumble of impossible meat finishes each bowl. As an added perk, proceeds from the restaurant fund the No Worries Movement animal sanctuary currently in progress.
8. Buta Japanese Ramen
A relative newcomer to the vegan ramen field, Buta Japanese Ramen offers three vegan choices and a unique coconut milk based broth. The Golden Curry and Soul You come piled with crispy mock duck while the light broth of the house vegan bowl comes under a flutter of young greens.
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9. Tajima Ramen North Park
With multiple spots across San Diego, Tajima is a mainstay of vegan ramen hunters. Monthly specials are frequently vegan-friendly, while the menu offers the plainly named Vegan Ramen. The translucent soy-vegetable broth holds spinach noodles with deep fried tofu, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, corn, baby bok choy, roasted cherry tomatoes, and sesame seeds. A drizzle of black garlic oil completes the meal.
10. HiroNori Craft Ramen
San Diego, CA 92103
From the Michelin Bib Gourmand awarded duo of Hiromichi Igarashi and Tadanori Akasako, Hillcrest’s HiroNori is a centrally located vegan-friendly sleeper in San Diego. A frothy sesame miso broth fills the deep bowl of their signature noodles draped in charred broccolini stems, tofu, corn, bean sprouts, and a tantan style mound of soy meat. On the side, a jar of pulpy chili paste should not be overlooked.
11. Underbelly North Park
At Underbelly, the allure for vegan comes in the add-ons—specially the skewer of eggplant wrapped tofu. The light, clear broth ramens are topped with subtle touches like enoki mushroom and truffle oil to bold strokes like hunks of blackened Brussels sprouts.
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12. HACHI RAMEN
Built on the blending of Japanese traditions with a California mentality, Hachi sports the most diverse selection of vegan ramens in San Diego. From the clear broth Tokoyo Ramen bobbing with chive and tofu dumplings, to the Vegan Cheezu’s creamy mushroom ginger broth topped with a melting slice of vegan cheese.
13. BESHOCK Ramen
Kumi Ito’s complex vegan broth comes thanks to shio kogi—a fermented rice paste that add sweet funk to all it touches. Blended into soy milk and ladled over a knot of Sun Noodles, the vegan ramen is finished with cherry tomatoes, sweet peas, cauliflower, baby corn and broccoli.
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