Chef Kyle Itani — Itani Ramen
“I started cooking Japanese food as a way to connect to Japan — but there's this whole other culture that I'm actually a part of already, the Japanese-American culture, and that has its own set of food...”

We return to Oakland to meet chef/owner Kyle Itani of the brand-new Itani Ramen, which sits across from the historic Fox Theater. Itani is as easy going as the atmosphere at Itani Ramen, which also captures the carefree essence of ramen.

As Itani explains to us, ramen's history in Japanese cuisine is relatively short, compared with the centuries-old art of sushi, which gives him and fellow ramen chefs room to play with their own style. This freedom also allows Itani to shine a light on the food of his own Japanese-American heritage, which he quickly realized was distinct enough to warrant its own category of cuisine.

Listen to the episode and learn how Itani's California farmland upbringing connects with Japanese-American food in his newest restaurant.

The Itani Ramen decor includes tchotchkes from Oakland, Japanese, and Japanese-American traditions
Hot peppers can be added to almost any Itani Ramen dish Chef Kyle Itani gets the ramen noodles ready
Kyle Itani behind the counter at Itani Ramen Tuna yamakake is dressed with green onions
Kyle Itani preps freshly made 5-piece pork gyoza The Gyoza Guide helps newcomers to Japanese cuisine feel comfortable
The pork gyoza, warm from the fryer Fresh ramen noodles wait to be prepared
Kyle Itani prepares ramen Fresh ramen is placed in its broth
The Shoyu Ramen with added chashu is complete. Freshly fried gyoza At just one week old, Itani Ramen's menu is being actively tested by early diners Chef Kyle Itani wanted to capture the Japanese-American culture he grew up with in Vacaville, California, with Itani Ramen in the heart of Oakland. Refreshing tuna yamakake Foggy Bay Area days make ramen perfect any time of year Kyle Itani gets his influence from Japanese culture, but keeps his menu true to his farmland American roots. Shoyu ramen with added egg, tuna yamakake, and five-piece pork gyoza - a full meal now available right across the street from Oakland's Fox Theater.

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