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Quickly expanding Oka Ramen lands in Manitou Springs 

click to enlarge The chicken yaki udon, a dish of thick noodles pan-fried with bok choy, onions and carrots, topped with tender, pounded-thin chicken and a mildly sweet, savory brown sauce. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The chicken yaki udon, a dish of thick noodles pan-fried with bok choy, onions and carrots, topped with tender, pounded-thin chicken and a mildly sweet, savory brown sauce.

Oka Ramen 3
964 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-2409, okaramenco.com

Oka Ramen launched its first location near the Rockrimmon neighborhood in mid-2017, with two more locations popping up soon after. This location, in the former Marilyn’s Pizza, opened this past February.

Dropping in for lunch on a tourist-packed afternoon, we order the chicken yaki udon, a dish of thick noodles pan-fried with bok choy, onions and carrots, topped with tender, pounded-thin chicken and a mildly sweet, savory brown sauce — well executed overall but nothing amazing. We also order the kimchi ramen bowl. It’s available with chicken, tofu, veggies or pulled pork, but we get it with menu-default pork belly. The belly bears faint grill marks, and it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender and fatty with a subtle fennel flavor in the pork that lingers on the tongue after it’s gone. Oka’s spicy miso broth comes in at a warming medium heat, rich and savory.

Kimchi adds a bright tartness, but not much in the way of spice. It’s a marked improvement from the unpolished fare we ate when we visited the original location, though there’s still room for growth. 

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