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Ramen fuel 

Ramen has achieved cult status as gamer food. I know this because I saw the Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup logo on some Game Stop T-shirts recently. I'm not proud of this, but long ago I used to eat two packages a day after track and cross country practice in high school, and later, my portable burner always had a pack of Nissin Top Ramen filling the dorm room with the fantastic smell of cheap Japanese chicken carb glory. Now we all know those silver flavor packages contain MSG and are as addictive as Oxycontin. So what's the alternative? The answer came to me several times in coupon form. You know the kind—the book of coupons that you get in your mailbox once a month. I felt compelled to use it simply because it asked so little of me: Free bowl of Kuma food truck ramen. No purchase necessary! Well then, try it, I will! ... and it was the best ramen ever (times 1,000). OK, brace yourself. It's $15, but you can split it with your buddy or your kids. I bought an extra one to-go for an appetizer for my family of five. Step one, choose your broth: the popular tonkotsu (pork); the basic miso; shoyu (soy sauce); or spicy miso. On the menu description next to spicy miso, it simply reads: "(awesome)." Step two, "choose your meat" the menu reads: "pork (oink oink), chicken (bok bok), or beef (mooooo)." I used to slug my brothers when they would make these sounds at the dinner table, as I was formerly borderline vegetarian, so that triggered a laugh. My ramen came in a big plastic bowl with ginger, green onion, and fish cake. The tonkotsu broth, cooked 24 hours, was served on the side so you add it to your noodles when you're ready. It was so good, I went insane with joy and stuck my new Kuma sticker on my writing file cabinet. This ramen fuel is going to be my new writing tool.

Kuma food truck sushi, rolls, and bowls is located on 6455 El Camino Real, Atascadero. Open seven days a week noon to 8 p.m. The spice of my life costs a lean $15. Δ

Flavor writer Beth Giuffre knows the chopstick is mightier than the sword. Send delicious tips through the editor at

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