Wednesday, August 28, 2013

santouka ramen, great expectations

Shio ramen - $8.95
What is it about ramen that inspires countless fanatics? There are movies about ramen and inspired by ramen. The web is saturated with ramen-only blogs, most of them by expats currently living in japan. Outside of japan, the appetite for ramen is abated -- or stoked, whichever way you want to look at it -- by the numerous ramen shops that seems to be popping out in every corner. A particularly heartwarming story is that of ramen shop owners and chefs who organised themselves to provide freshly cooked ramen to those hardest hit by the 2011 tsunami in japan.

I'm a fanatic fish-and-chips hunter, but a close second would be my love of ramen. It is unfortunate that I live in a city with a sparse number of ramen shops (There's only one shop I frequent now, the rest are rubbish).

It is with much excitement to say the least knowing that in Vancouver, I might be able to eat some decent ramen. With a city that is populated with more and more asians, expectations were high.

It seems that the highest rated ramen shops in Vancouver are concentrated at the West End. Having only limited amount of time in this city, it suited us perfectly. After a quick deliberation, we decided to try the best, Ramen Santouka had that distinction in urbanspoon.

We didn't come during lunch hours, so there was no line. It was all quite leisurely and relaxed. I don't remember how the service was, but I'm sure it was all perfectly amiable -- I'd remember if it wasn't.

The ramen, on the other hand, was an odd one for me. The noodle was al-dente, as it should be. The toppings were agreeable and the portions were not in the least stingy. The broth, however, I'm conflicted about. The first few mouthfuls when expectations were coupled with appetite, we ate to satisfy that and could only think about the positives, tasty, meaty, satisfying broth. But towards the middle, when we slowed down was when we can be objective. It was then when I said to hubby, "The broth is a bit salty, huh?", to which we scratched our heads in unison and thought, why is this ramen joint so popular?
Shoyu ramen - $8.95
Perhaps it was an off day. Perhaps we didn't come at the right time of the day -- it was late afternoon but nowhere near dinner time. Perhaps in doing so, the broth was overly concentrated and thus rendering it salty. I don't know the reasons why. Alas, we'll never know why until we have the chance to go back.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka on Urbanspoon
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
1690 Robson Street
Open 7 days 11am-11pm
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