Ramen Santouka

November 15th, 2011

Location: 1690 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC  View Google Map
Website: Click Here

I’m embarrassed to admit that until last year, when Ramen Santouka hit Robson Street, I didn’t know what ramen could be. Growing up, my brother and sister and I would regularly have Sapporo Ichiban instant noodles as a late night snack and I foolishly assumed that captured the extent of ramen possibilities. When I saw the throngs of people regularly waiting in a line spilling out of Ramen Santouka’s door (in the rain no less!), I had to follow suit. The milky broth is what stands out the most and it’s the product of much love: it takes 20 hours to simmer pork bones gently to get them to release this deep and delicate flavour. Ramen Santouka insists upon the specific temperature of their soup – they refuse to boil it so as not to ruin its flavour and believe this is the best temperature at which to enjoy the dish. A Japanese franchise which started in Asahikawa on the island Hokkaido, Ramen Santouka started as a shop with 9 seats and with only one dish on the menu: Shio Ramen (their signature salt flavour). It has since expanded its franchise and menu and the Robson Street location offers a handful of flavours from mild to my personal favourite, the Kara Miso, a spicier broth. The curly ramen noodles are simmered until they still offer a slightly chewy texture; bamboo shoots, kelp and pork, both meaty and fatty, are added to the mix. Trust me, there’s nothing more satisfying than this on a cold and wet Vancouver night. (EL)

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