Monday, October 7, 2013

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

Toroniku Shio

If you've been following me for awhile now, you know that I'm a ramen lover. Ramen lover, yes, and also pretty picky about her ramen. In Honolulu, there are a select few I will vouch for- one being Tenkaippin and the other, Yotteko-Ya. Until now. Last week, I went to the once-elusive (but not anymore!), Santouka, located in Don Quijote. If you're from LA or visit often, chances are you love love love Santouka. Santouka is highly coveted there. "Santouka ramen this, Santouka ramen that, I want Santouka NOW, I'm craving Santouka!"

Well, all you Hawaiians who yearn for that creamy broth with perfectly al-dente noodles and the most fatty, tender slices of are in luck! Find Santouka in the old Ezogiku on the outskirts of Don Quijote and all the other food windows. They opened just a couple weeks ago, so ENJOY! Your dream come true awaits you!

Parking- Well, it's Don Quijote, and it's always crowded no matter what time of day. I found parking in the other parking structure across the street, which was nice because it's shaded. There's no way you're ever going to find parking in the main lot, unless you circle 10 times all the while dodging cars and human beings. Your best bet- street parking or their additional parking across the street. Now, this parking problem also goes hand in hand with waiting in line for Santouka. Of course, Santouka is newly opened and has a popular reputation already, so be prepared to wait 20-30 minutes to get a table, depending on how many people you have. The restaurant is really small, so I wouldn't suggest taking a party of 10 there for lunch.

Verdict on ramen? This has become one of my favorite spots. I crave it, I dream about it, I want it NOW. Yep, I've become one of those. I ordered #9 Toroniku Shio Ramen, where all of the toppings come on the side and comes with a nice full order of their delicious pork slices. All of this for $12.50- a really nice deal in my perspective. It also came with more noodles than I could finish! This never happens at Yotteko-Ya or Tenkaippin. I also wanted to try their Sake/Ikura bowl for only $5.80- I thought this was another great deal. The salmon was salted, while they gave a pretty generous amount of ikura and negi.

My friend, Kevin ordered the Kara Miso Ramen, which was fire red in color. I don't care for super spicy things, but I wanted to have a taste. Well, the color is completely misleading. It wasn't spicy to me at all, and was bursting with flavor. I let out a "MMmMmMM super good" after having a spoonful of broth. Only thing is his ramen came with two pieces of a different pork chashu, and it was definitely not as good as mine! If you want the "Otoro of pork" in your ramen, go with the Toroniku- Super tender pork cheek. How can you go wrong with that?

Kevin and I are Tenkaippin lovers, and we also love Tenkaippin's Aji Tamago (shoyu egg). Santouka's version, Aji Tama, was on the menu, so we ordered two. There were some difficulties with wrong orders for our table and some tables around us (the usual stuff when a new place opens), but nothing big. We almost forgot we had ordered the egg, but didn't get it yet. After almost finishing our meals, we got the eggs. Hot in temperature, our eggs were perfectly cooked with that gooey orange center, and sitting in some shoyu sauce. Love that! I must say (and I know Kevin agrees) that this was the best egg yet. You can tell it was marinated for awhile as the flavor was there. Tenkaippin's aji tamago's quality has gone down. Not enough marination, and the egg's yolk is usually pretty overcooked. Let's hope Santouka will keep it up! You're doing good so far, Santouka!

Hope you all get around to visiting Santouka!!

Sake/Ikura bowl

Kara Miso Ramen

Aji Tama

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