Feb 20, 2024 - Things to Do

Bite Club: MaLa noodle soup at Kayo's Ramen Bar

A photo of a table with a bowl of ramen noodle soup.

Be careful when choosing your spice level. Photo: Meira Gebel/Axios

Rose City is not short on ramen shops — and we all have our favorites.

  • We've got upscale spots like Afuri (where you'll wait up to 90 minutes on a Friday night for a bowl of tsukemen), and slide-up-to-the-counter shops like Kinboshi.

Those are my go-to's, but last week I made it a point to try something new and checked out Kayo's Ramen Bar on N Williams.

The menu: The choices here are endless. There are five ramen-style soups — featuring classics like shoyu and miso — where you can pick your broth (bone or vegan), protein (pork or tofu) and spice level (mild to extra hot).

  • I ordered the MaLa, a Sichuan hotpot-inspired base with all the fixings: jammy egg, corn, spinach, charred green onions and chasu pork (braised pork belly) with mild spice.

The bite: As someone who prefers tantanmen (creamy broth and ground meat), I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. It truly tasted like hot pot!

  • Notes of simmering peppercorns, chili and miso underscored tender chasu and a series of tasty toppings. It almost felt healthy, but I know its not.

The bottom line: There's plenty of seating at Kayo's — inside and outside of the heated patio. So if there's too long of a wait at Eem, just venture down the block and you won't be disappointed.

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