Jinya's chicken ramen
Jinya's chicken ramen

No. 71. Chicken Ramen at Jinya Ramen Bar

Surprise, long-time readers! Ramen makes it in to my 100 favorites list again this year. But this time, it's from Costa Mesa newcomer Jinya Ramen Bar, and their chicken ramen is a phenomenal, left-field version.

It's left-field because the chicken stock is white and murky instead of golden and clear. Jinya makes their chicken broth in the same manner of aggressive boiling employed in their pork tonkotsu soup, which extracts the protein and marrow inside the bones. We've talked before about tonkotsu soup being the de facto local style of OC ramenyas, and Jinya also makes a fantastic version of this rich pork stock. But nowhere else can you find an equally rich, deeply flavored chicken soup.

In place of the slices of the usual pork chashu, this bowl comes with chicken chashu instead. Pieces of dark meat chicken are cooked in a soy sauce-based reduction that deeply penetrates the chicken. There's the usual secret-recipe stuff in there that they're not going to divulge, so you'll have to trust me when I tell you Jinya's soup ranks right at the top of the OC ramenya heap.

If you don't eat pork but still want a rich soup that doesn't cheat you out of the tonkotsu ramen experience, Jinya's chicken ramen is really the only game in town. Good thing the only option is tear-inducingly delicious.

The list so far:

72. Pig Snout at Tacos & Carnitas Sahuayo
73. Kale and Mushroom Flatbread at 320 Main
74. Congee at King Lobster Palace
75. Fish and Chips at Slapfish
76. Fries at Playground
77. Carne en Su Jugo at La Cocina de Mi Abuelita
78. S'mores at Ti Amo Biscotti & More
79. Broken Rice at Dat Thanh
80. Bulgogi and Potato Pizza at Chicken & Pizza Love Letter
81. Braised Bacon at Break of Dawn
82. Cake Donut at Cream Pan
83. Bistec de Pollo at Mercado El Rey
84. The Rhino at Rancho a Go Go
85. Cabernet Brownies at Blackmarket Bakery
86. Cookie Monster at Lola Ice Cream and Deli
87. Polenta Board at CUCINA Enoteca
88. Falafel Taco at Taco Asylum
89. Wagon-Wheel Bread at THE RANCH Restaurant
90. Toothpick Tacos at Mexico Supermarket
91. Hoppin' John at Memphis at the Santora
92. Free Beans and Chips at Taqueria Zamora
93. Pig in a Blanket Waffle with Gringo Bandito at Cafe Calacas
94. "Pork Hash" at Huong Giang
95. Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla At Kogi
96. Licuados at Mil Jugos
97. Hawaiian Ahi Poke at California Fish Grill
98. Takoyaki at Takoyaki Tanota
99. Fiesta Noodles at Jollibee
100. Chilaquiles Verdes Con Huevos Estrellados at La Tablita California

Click here to view our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2010!
Click here to view our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2011!

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