Market Watch: Shopping the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market with Richie Nakano and Kitty Gallisa of Hapa Ramen
Earlier this year when Richie Nakano, Nopa’s then sous-chef, approached me about an idea for a ramen stand at the Thursday market, I was intrigued. Once I saw the menu –hand pulled noodles, house made broth, organic, seasonal produce-- I was hooked. Richie explained that he and his business partner Kitty Gallisa, both self-proclaimed ramen lovers, had been hatching a plan to create a business of their own focused on this traditional Japanese noodle soup. They planned to call it Hapa Ramen.
Their first day at the market in mid-June, the crowds lined up to get their hands on steaming bowls of noodles topped with braised pork shoulder, panko crusted chicken, slow poached eggs, and veggies including snap peas from Catalan Farms, chard from Dirty Girl Produce, and English peas from Iacopi Farms. As the summer wore on Richie started adding tempura-fried summer squash, green beans and fresh corn. Richie now looks forward to experimenting with fall and winter veggies and adding more seasonal salads to the mix like the Early Girl tomato, Soybean, Avocado and Yuzu salad he is serving up this week.
Kitty, a bartender at Nopa, is the mastermind behind the refreshing drinks made with peak season summer fruits at the Hapa Ramen stand. Last week, inspired by her visit to the Hamada Farms booth, she created a ‘Peachy Palmer’ using Early Grey iced tea, fresh muddled donut peaches, and house-made lemonade. This week she’s adding a ‘Pear Refresher’ to the menu, made with Full Belly Farm’s pears, lime juice and agave nectar. Kitty also is thinking seasonally when it comes to her drink selections and has already started planning for warm drinks to serve as the market transitions into the cooler months.
September is shaping up to be a very busy month for both Richie and Kitty as Hapa Ramen will be moving into their new production space at Mission Creek Kitchen, popping up at Bar Tartine for three Mondays in a row starting September 13th and joining us every week as the newest addition to the Tuesday market. Kitty is also expecting her first child next month but hasn’t let being eight months pregnant slow her down one bit. You can find her and Richie at the Hapa Ramen booth every week and shopping the market on Saturdays for the best seasonal ingredients to incorporate into their weekly menu.