The Silicon Valley has its fair share of Ramen Noodle houses—and quite good ones at that—but for someone unfamiliar with the food and menu options, it might be a little confounding at first where to start and what to order. Shin Shin Men Men, a new restaurant in Cupertino, actually serves as a great starter Ramen noodle house because of its very limited menu and casual ambience. It’s also a great lunch option for De Anza students—it’s located in the shopping center across the street, and it serves food quickly and for a reasonable price.

Ramen, which is not to be confused with the twenty-five cent instant soup, is a hearty Japanese noodle soup dish. The main components are the broth, which is generally a meat or fish base, and the noodles, which tend to be a thick, Chinese, wheat-based variety. Shin Shin Men Men certainly succeeds with the noodles. They are thick, chewy and plentiful. As far as broth, they offer three choices. The best, and most popular, is tonkotsu, which is a pork bone broth. Every Ramen house includes their own variations on the add-ins like meats, veggies, seaweed, etc.

The ordering process is so simple at Shin Shin Men Men that it’s just a three step process. There is no server. The ordering process is done entirely at the front counter. First step is choosing the broth base. The options are tonkotsu, soy sauce and miso. Second up is the level of spiciness (on a scale of 0-6.). Lastly, additional add-ins can be ordered. There is already plenty in the soup: two hunks of succulent pork, a soft boiled egg, seaweed, bean sprouts, green onions and bamboo shoots. Anything additional doesn’t seem necessary, unless someone was really having a hankering for some corn or kimchee. Soups range between $9.45-10.95. Add-ins are extra.

The bowls are so big that only one can fit on a single tray. The food looks more exotic than it tastes. The flavors are actually quite simple and satisfying. I tried both the tonkotsu and the miso broth base. I found the miso somewhat flavorless. I also ordered it at a spiciness level of 0, which didn’t help the situation. As for the tonkotsu, I ordered that at spiciness level of 2, which was surprisingly hot. I was sweating with each spoonful. It was worth it though. The flavors of the hot sauce, especially when combined with the tonkutsu, were really delicious.

It was a small restaurant with just a couple tables. It was packed. I ate there on a Staurday night, a time I figured would be slow since there’d be no De Anza rush, but people love their ramen noodles.

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