Although Bay Area Japanese noodle connoisseurs have long insisted you need to go to the South Bay for great ramen, the popular comfort food is beginning to develop a legion of followers here in San Francisco. Identified by a rich broth—milky with emulsified fat—and long, springy alkaline noodles, there are textbook bowls of ramen to be found from the Marina to the Outer Sunset. Here's where to go when the craving hits.
I rarely get over to Betelnut for dinner but last night I sat at the smooth, red counter and ordered a bowl of the Malaysian curry laksa soup. What a perfect bowl of comfort. The shrimp were plump, the shredded chicken tender, the kinked up noodles springy. It was all bathing in a rich, fragrant coconut curry a pumpkin color of orange that could stop traffic. It warmed me up as I shivered my way through yet another restaurant in SF with an open-door policy. (As in the front door is kept open even on windy, cold summer nights.)