Richie Nakano uses a lot of pork bones and skin to make Hapa Ramen's broth. He turns pork bellies and shoulders into chashu, as well, and sometimes grills up pork loin to place on top of his noodles.
In January, Nakano figured he might as well just buy the whole hog and get hams, shortribs and jowls, too. So he begun getting pasture-raised hogs — a cross between the Tamworth breed and wild boars — from Riverdog Farm in the Capay Valley. This year, Nakano and his second-in-command, Susanna Ok, have quietly morphed into charcutiers, producing hams for Pal's Takeaway, selling guanciale and terrines at the Mission Community Market, and offering charcuterie plates at the popup dinners Nakano regularly throws at Tartine Bakery.
Demand has grown, and so has the size of the hogs he's ordering. “The average pig size is now 280 to 325 pounds,” he says, “and they bring in the head, the liver, the ham hocks, the feet, everything — I'm trying to figure out the best way to go through all that meat.”
Last week, Hapa Ramen began bundling the charcuterie into $30 kits that Nakano is selling at his Ferry Plaza lunchtime stand on Tuesdays and Thursdays (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) and the Thursday night Mission farmers market (4-8 p.m.).