I love instant ramen. By far my favourite is that Korean brand Nongshim both for their great spicy flavour and their thick, bouncy noodles. I used to stock up boxes of their ramen. I’ve easily consumed over a thousand bags of ramen in my life.
As much as I enjoy instant ramen however, I’ve actually never been to be Japanese ramen shop. It’s not that I’ve got anything against non-instant, artisanal, “authentic” (a word that I personally don’t believe in) ramen, I’ve just never gotten around to it. Wanting to change this, I decided to visit the Broadway location of Hokkaido Ramen Santouka (they have a 2nd location on Robson). I’ve had their Miso Cha-shu Ramen, which I upgraded to a large size for an additional $1.
Miso Cha-shu Ramen ($13.80 + $1 for Large):
The bowl was filled with ramen noodles and broth that’s topped with cha-shu pork and vegetables (woodear mushrooms, green onions and bamboo shoots). The noodles had a great bouncy texture. I loved the broth, which was rich without being oily and very savoury, and had a nice fragrance from ground sesame. There were five generous pieces of pork, which although a bit chewy, was still reasonably tender and had a good ratio between lean meat and fat. While I did find the cha-shu to be a bit bland on its own, it tasted fine when eaten with the noodles and broth. Even though the bowl didn’t look particularly big, the rich broth and generous amount of noodles made it quite filling.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the ramen at Hokkaido Ramen Santouka. Yes, you may shell out much more than the $1 you do for instant ramen, but the taste and quality does make up for it. The staff are quite friendly and attentive, and frequently call to each other in Japanese. The place does get busy however; being a single diner I was able to get a seat by the bar quite easily, but the tables do get full, so be prepared for a wait if you’re going in a group. All in all, I was quite impressed by this restaurant, and I’d highly recommend checking it out.