Kukai Ramen Revisited


Whither the new ramen restaurants? Maybe we’re victims of the digital age where rumors and hype of restaurant openings hit the fan so far in advance that when they finally do open, it’s almost a non-event. Since last fall, Seattle rameniacs have been waiting for the opening of two high-profile restaurants—Shibumi and Jinya. We’re still waiting while staring at the “open soon” promises on the internet. Now, we hear that Santouka, a famous chain from Hokkaido, will be opening its first restaurant in Washington state in April, right here in Bellevue. (It has a big presence in Southern California, more locally in Vancouver, B.C.) I stated before that the greater Seattle area currently has a lackluster ramen scene, certainly not befitting a city of its size on the West Coast that has cultural and economic ties to Japan as well as a good-sized Japanese American community and enough Japanese nationals on work visas to stimulate demand.

When it comes to pass that the newbies do finally open their doors, Seattle will have taken a giant stride toward ramen legitimacy.

Meanwhile, in need of a ramen fix, three of us headed over to Kukai Ramen in Bellevue, a strong contender for the area’s best ramenya. When my wife and I ate there last July, we thought highly of the tonkotsu ramen (☆☆☆½) and tsukemen (☆☆☆). Today, arriving past the noon hour, along with our daughter we waited for a mere 10 minutes before getting seated.

My wife decided on the yuzu shio ramen, which piqued her interest on our last visit. Yuzu is a citrus fruit widely cultivated in Asia, especially Japan and Korea. It seemed unusual that any sort of citrus acidulation would be imagined as a natural complement to a meat-based broth. So it was a surprise that, rather than tasting tartness, the broth only had the fruit’s essence. One explanation is that yuzu zest was used instead, a common cooking technique for adding citrus flavor without the acidity. Condiments included a generous amount of yu choy, finely shredded green onions, spinach, mizuna and a pinch of dried red chile threads (silgochu in Korean). Kukai’s excellent menma (seasoned bamboo shoots) is house-made. The noodles were perfectly cooked. A large slice of roasted pork was tender though unremarkable. The only drawback was a layer of uncooked albumen near the yolk of the seasoned soft-boiled egg (ajitsuke tamago). This was a very fine ramen (☆☆☆½), unusual, savory, with intriguing citrus notes.

Yuzu shio ramen

Yuzu shio ramen

My daughter first picked the tonkotsu ramen from the regular menu. After the waitress left with our order, I noticed on the specials placard that miso ramen was available today. The waitress graciously made the change and recommended the standard broth instead of low-sodium that my daughter wanted with the original tonkotsu order. If it was not to her liking, there would be no problem in switching to the low-sodium version, a gesture that we all thought was very customer-oriented. As it turned out, the regular broth was fine. Miso ramen is a Hokkaido specialty—Kukai even went so far as to use miso from there. The noodles were slightly thicker than those used in the yuzu shio ramen and curly, rather than straight. Complementing this sturdy broth was a serving of sweet corn. Bean sprouts, slice of pork, menma and green onions completed the ingredients in this good ramen (☆☆☆).

Miso ramen

Miso ramen

My spicy ramen—whose hotness level patrons can choose among mild, medium (my choice) or hot—arrived in a milky pork-broth similar to tonkotsu but with the addition of a chile blend and garlic. As in the miso ramen, the noodles were thicker. Yu choy, green onions, bean sprouts, menma and a perfectly cooked egg ($1 extra) were nice additions. The pork slice had a slight off-taste that previously refrigerated or frozen pork can pick up. My rating: a solid ramen (☆☆☆).

Spicy ramen

Spicy ramen

Also doing business as an izakaya, Kukai has a limited selection of small bites, including edamame, gyoza, takoyaki, house salad and onigiri. We wanted to sample their two most popular: chicken wings and chicken karaage (deep-fried marinated chicken). The karaage came to our table first. Boneless chicken thigh pieces, battered with potato starch (katakuriko), were fried to perfection, served with a lemon wedge. Sprinkled with a squeeze of lemon juice, they were crispy, succulent and not in the least greasy, as fine a version as you’re likely to have anywhere (☆☆☆☆).

Chicken wings

Chicken karaage

The wings were similarly faultlessly fried, also coated in potato starch, making them lightly crispy, a pinch of green onions adding color. A scattering of fried garlic bits on top greatly enhanced their appeal. What made these wings even more interesting was a pool of sweetened yuzu juice underneath, a tad sugary for my taste but nevertheless adding to a unique, unconventional and tasty appetizer (☆☆☆½).

Chicken karaage

Chicken wings

With ramen to fill our stomachs, there were enough appetizers left to take home. Regardless of how the ramen newcomers fare, Kukai will likely remain among the best ramen restaurants in the Seattle area.

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Kukai Ramen & Izakaya
14845 Main St
Bellevue, WA 98007
425.243.7527

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Porky Pig: Return to Ramen Fujisan (San Gabriel, CA)—CLOSED


At the spur of the moment, my daughter asked if we wanted to go out and have ramen for lunch. Sounded like a good idea. Since she’d never been to Ramen Fujisan, that’s where five of us headed. Located along Valley Blvd in San Gabriel where there are more strip malls than you can shake a stick at (and therefore lots of places to eat), Fujisan is the rare ramen restaurant. I’d been there once before and liked their tonkotsu ramen.

This time around, I decided to have the “strong” broth (I chose the “medium” before). Ever on the lookout for truly porky tonkotsu broth—and being frequently disappointed—I was truly pleasantly surprised. The first few sips is like tasting the essence of porky pig, almost gamey in its funkiness. But as my taste buds adjusted, i realized how much I was enjoying it. I also realized that other versions I’ve had were pretenders, either watered down for American tastes or not done properly. Combined with perfectly cooked firm noodles (and here you can order them “hard,” “regular” or “soft”), this may be the best tonkotsu ramen I’ve had the pleasure of eating. The pork belly (you can also ask for pork loin) slice, shredded tree ears, green onions and a single toasted nori square were fine enough, but secondary to the two main stars. An egg, which can only be ordered at extra cost, was the lone underachiever, having been sliced in half and therefore the yolk congealed from the hot broth. A wonderful ramen otherwise (☆☆☆½).

Tonkotsu ramen

Tonkotsu ramen

The option to specify the spiciness level has gone by the wayside, replaced by a single add-on choice called “spicy miso.” You used to be able to pick on a scale between “none” to “extra spicy.” Also gone is the macho challenge called Eruption of Mt Fuji in which the goal is to finish a ramen bowl at the spiciest level in 20 minutes, either costing you $30 if you failed or getting your tab picked up the restaurant plus a $10 restaurant certificate if you won. Winners had their photographs posted on the bulletin board. But this game has been replaced by another. If you finish a large bowl of Mt Fuji Ramen, equivalent in volume to 4-5 regular bowls, within 20 minutes, you get the same reward or penalty as before. Once you win, you can’t challenge again. Of course, you can lose $30 a pop as many times as you want.

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Ramen Fujisan (**CLOSED**)
529 E Valley Blvd, Ste 138-B
San Gabriel, CA 91776
626.288.1774

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Ramen Fever: Seattle’s Push Toward a Higher Profile


It’s been a particularly curious phenomenon that the Seattle area, claiming as much connection to Japan as any other major U.S. city, has had a mediocre track record as far as having great ramen restaurants. As any ramen fanatic can tell you, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver, B.C., are several steps ahead of Seattle (and Portland) on the West Coast to having anything close to a notable ramen scene. This is not to say that Seattle is a ramen armpit. Far from it, because there are a few—and I mean few—places that serve up a pretty good bowl of noodles. But, earlier this year, the introduction of Kukai Ramen changed the local landscape. Its first operation in the U.S., the respected Japanese chain opened a restaurant in Bellevue to much praise and long lines.

As if tapping into some kind of cosmic mind-meld, suddenly the area will see several more ramenya open their doors. It is well known that Eric Stapleman, who owned and closed Shibumi in Santa Fe (where I’ve eaten and liked), relocated to Seattle and will start the ramenya-izakaya concept in Capitol Hill. Exactly when is not clear. I also learned only today that Mighty Ramen will pop-up at The Dish in Green Lake on Monday, December 9, to offer its noodle bowls before settling on a more permanent space.

Possibly the most significant launch will be Jinya, a U.S. chain that will open its first Washington restaurant in the Crossroads area of Bellevue. The original Studio City (in California) restaurant has garnered praise from both Jonathan Gold (who lists it among the 10 best ramen places in the LA area) and rameniac, great endorsements both. From that location, additional ones have opened in other parts of LA, New York City, Las Vegas, Vancouver and Houston. The specialty will be tonkotsu ramen, which I’ve written about in other posts. Suffice it to say that I’ll be anxious to dive right in. I am holding out hope that their tonkotsu broth is thick—and I mean thick—like real tonkotsu is supposed to be, rather than the thin broth-y concession to American tastes. And really porky in flavor. The restaurant hasn’t opened yet, but the debut is imminent.

Time will tell if these restaurants measure up. It’s interesting that Kukai and Jinya, both brainchilds of Japanese entrepreneurs, decided to make their move not in Seattle, but across Lake Washington in Bellevue. Chances are it’s because most of the Japanese on temporary work visas live on the Eastside. Din Tai Fung did its own market research when it similarly started its first Washington venture in Bellevue, likely for the identical reason that the area’s Taiwanese American population is concentrated there. Is it any wonder that what many regard as the best Taiwanese restaurant in Washington (Facing East) is also located in Bellevue?

All this aside, it appears that the Seattle area is perched to make big strides toward ramen legitimacy. And it’s about time.

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Black Garlic Oil Ramen at Setsuna


When I started looking for a place to have dinner after a movie, my friend KirkJ suggested Setsuna Japanese Restaurant & Bar in the Northgate area of Seattle. As a restaurant to have ramen, Setsuna fell under my radar as it is not explicitly a ramenya. If I’d read the Yelp reviews carefully, I would have been duly informed, as KirkJ had. One look at the menu on arrival was enough to convince me to give it a try, especially one called black ramen, not particularly a descriptive name, but explained on the menu as having “rich soy sauce flavor with original blackened garlic butter dressing,” apparently a specialty of northern Kyushu. The other ramen were standard, one with a shio (salt) broth, another with shoyu, and one spicy.

The black ramen arrived not only in what appeared to be an inky broth but impressively clad in a dark green, almost black bowl served on a black plastic tray, a culinary Darth Vader. The stunning presentation was not entirely dark. Poking above the surface were slices of bright green yu choy leaves, starkly contrasting bean sprouts, slices of seasoned bamboo shoots (menma), pinkish pork (kakuni), the pale yellow and milky white of the half-boiled egg (ajitsuke tamago) and fine threads of dried red chiles that looked like saffron, likely borrowed from the Koreans. Underneath were lurking ramen noodles which when lifted up provided yet more contrast against the black surroundings.

The broth was made from pork, normally brownish in color. What gives this ramen its dark hue is mayu, which is made by slowly frying garlic in oil until it turns black, then puréeing it until smooth. There must be some art involved without making the garlic bitter. It lent the broth a certain powderiness that coated the tongue, not off-putting but interesting. As ramen goes, Setsuna’s was hardly salty, almost qualifying as low-sodium. The pork broth should have been richer and more flavorful to compensate, but it was good enough. The eggy noodles were excellent with just the right amount of springiness. Rather than being slices of pork belly, there were leaner chunks, quite tasty. The half-boiled egg was perfection itself: the white was firmly set but the yolk creamy as in the best ramen, with a surprisingly pleasant sweetness. Kudos to the restaurant for offering such a compelling bowl of noodles, one I doubt you’d find anywhere else in the Seattle area, but I give it simply a “good” rating (☆☆☆), mainly because of the understated broth, a significant component of a great ramen experience.

My wife’s salmon miso dinner wasn’t bad (☆☆½), mainly marred by previously frozen salmon that hardly had miso flavoring, tempura pieces (shrimp and vegetables) that were light and crispy but oily, good miso soup, fine salad with a wasabi dressing and sliced cantaloupe.

Salmon miso dinner

Salmon miso dinner

Tempura

Tempura

Setsuna Japanese Restaurant & Bar
11204 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle, WA 98125
206.417.3175

Ramen Fujisan (San Gabriel, CA)


Tonkotsu ramen (image posted by Charlie C on Yelp)

“Thick noodles or thin?”

“Heavy, medium or thin broth?”

“Lean pork or pork belly?”

“Firm, medium or soft noodles?”

“How much oil do you want?” (more on this below)

These are the battery of questions you get asked by the wait staff when you order ramen at Ramen Fujisan in San Gabriel. On top of that, you have the option of adding extras for an additional cost: green onions, nori, sliced tree ears, chashu, bamboo shoots, corn, bean sprouts and egg, the first four simply more of what already comes standard. As a reviewer on Yelp carped, “I came for ramen I didn’t come to play 20 questions.” To me personally, they represent a great, if verbose way to customize your order for no extra cost. The trend of tailoring ramen (like udon) to your preferences seems to be popular nowadays.

My father-in-law was in search of another ramen restaurant since the demise of Ton-Chan, also in San Gabriel and soon to be replaced by another ramenya, when he read about Fujisan.

The ramen (☆☆☆) was pretty good served with a rich, milky tonkotsu broth that wasn’t heavy on sodium. Having gone once before, my wife and her sister remarked that the “heavy” broth was practically indistinguishable from “medium” strength. The difference between “firm” (or al dente) and “soft” noodles is more obvious. I ordered mine firm. “Thick” noodles, which we all ordered, have more girth than standard (thin) ramen noodles that can withstand softening in hot broth longer.

And now, about the oil that you get asked about when ordering. An obvious euphemism, it’s really pork fat that to many rameniacs (to borrow a word coined by a popular but now inactive blogger) is part of the ramen-eating experience. Many a ramen where one doesn’t have a choice come with a layer of it on top, unnoticed by many but definitely there. It adds flavor and also keeps the ramen hotter for a longer period of time. The process of making genuine tonkotsu broth naturally results in a fair amount of rendered fat. So, in order to cater to customer concerns, the grease must be skimmed off afterward and left up to the diner to add back in.

The difference between the “lean” pork and “pork belly” option is a matter of degree. The label of lean in my book is a misnomer because of the generous amount of fat still attached. Regardless, both cuts are flavorful and tender.

Yet another choice is the degree of spiciness you want, anywhere from none, normal, spicy and extra spicy. The capper is an even hotter level, wryly called Eruption of Mt Fuji. Why would anyone risk forever blistering one’s taste buds? For one thing, you don’t get charged for the ramen ($7.50 with no extras) if you finish it in 20 minutes. Secondly, you’ll receive a $10 restaurant gift card. There is a downside though: if you lose, you get charged $30 for the ramen, which means you don’t enter the challenge lightly. For the victor, your name and photo gets added to the winner’s list on the wall. Once you win, you can’t throw down the gauntlet again. I can’t imagine a serious ramenya sponsoring such a challenge, apparently a relatively recent phenomenon to satiate a growing interest in ever spicier foods. It seems more suited to theater even if it adds an element of fun and suspense to an otherwise straightforward eating experience.

Ramen Fujisan
529 E Valley Blvd, Ste 138-B
San Gabriel, CA 91776
626.288.1774

Kukai Ramen & Izakaya


The biggest Asian restaurant opening to hit the Eastside since Din Tai Fung has been that of Kukai Ramen & Izakaya. Kukai is a highly successful ramen chain in Japan. The Bellevue branch is the first in the States. No sooner had Kukai opened its doors than the lines started forming. For weeks, you could never get immediately seated, exacerbated by its limited weekday hours when their doors close for 2½ hours in the afternoon. And forget about weekends. You need to have the patience of Job to get a seat. About a month and a half ago, we attempted to go but were confronted by a line outside. We skipped it and went elsewhere.

Today, we were in the area and decided to give Kukai another go. This time, we got seated immediately.

The first thing that we noticed upon entry was the noise level. I’ve ranted before about restaurant cacophony; Kukai is right up there with the worst. We got seated at a two-person table, barely inches away from diners on either side of us. Our waiter informed us that the most popular ramen in Japan is the tonkotsu and the most popular izakaya item, the takoyaki.

For me, the choice was obvious—the tonkotsu. My wife wanted cold noodles to temper the hot weather we’ve been having lately. Her choice was the tsukemen, cold noodles and accompaniments that are dipped in a broth served on the side. Her choice of the broth was tonkotsu, the others being shoyu (soy sauce) and chicken. You would think that the tonkotsu of both our dishes would be the same, but you’d be wrong. I’ll comment on this later.

The tonkotsu ramen (☆☆☆½) broth was delicious, salty, not as porky nor milky as the most genuine versions, but tasty nonetheless. The ramen noodles were perfectly cooked, al dente, and kept their toothsome texture almost to the end. Virtually a hallmark of a great ramen accompaniment is a seasoned half-cooked egg (ajitsuke tamago) with a firm white and creamy yolk, the way the Japanese prefer it. Served whole, Kukai’s was almost perfect with a yolk that was a half congealed. Also included were bean sprouts, pork chashu, shredded green onions and rings of dried red chile. At $11, tonkotsu ramen is not an inexpensive noodle soup.

Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen

Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen (Note: egg cut in half with chopsticks by me)

Diners have the option of choosing a “traditional” or low-sodium broth. Even though I like to watch my sodium intake, the issue of ramen’s saltiness (both fresh and packaged) really comes down to the broth where almost all of it is concentrated. The obvious strategy is not to finish the broth once everything else is eaten, though the temptation might be great to polish it off.

The noodles of the tsukemen (☆☆☆) were flat, cut like a thin fettucine, an interesting variation that worked quite well. They were accompanied by menma (seasoned bamboo shoots) and yu choy, all topped with finely shredded dried seaweed. They also came with slices of pork chashu, like my tonkotsu ramen. The meat was from a larger cut than usual, tasty but the texture somewhat dry. A surprising twist in the dipping broth was a citrusy zing that turned out to be really appealing with this style of ramen.

Tonkotsu tsukemen

Tonkotsu tsukemen

Additional toppings are available for $1.50 each, which in some instances is excessive. Seriously, additional bean sprouts or scallions for $1.50? An egg is not included in many ramens.

Both these ramens were quite good, among the best in the entire region. Based on Kukai’s success here, there’s little doubt that the chain will open more restaurants elsewhere. For next time, an intriguing option to try is the Yuzu Shio Ramen. For small plate snacking or a lighter meal, there is the izakaya menu.

8-23-13: On a return visit, I ordered the shoyu ramen (☆☆☆½). Again, the noodles were perfectly cooked. The broth, again salty, was nonetheless delicious with a slight sweetness. I will have to try the low-sodium broth next time. Gyoza (☆☆☆), clad in a thin skin, was nicely browned and flavorful.

Shoyu ramen

Shoyu ramen

Kukai Ramen & Izakaya
14845 Main St
Bellevue, WA 98007
425.243.7527
Menu
 

Ox-tail Ramen at Ramen Nakamura (Honolulu, HI)


We were really eager for lunch after the forgettable breakfast on our flight from Auckland. Only a few blocks from our friend’s condo where we were staying, we headed straight for Ramen Nakamura on Kalakaua for their specialty, ox-tail ramen. While my usual choice for ramen broth is miso, Nakamura offering it (as well as shoyu) for an extra 50¢, my wife and I both chose the customary shio broth. The ramen arrived in a big bowl with two colossal sections of ox tail, meaty, bony and generously ribboned with fat. Prying the meat from the cartilage and bony flanges proved to be challenging, but there’s no denying they provided plenty of flavor and gelatin. The slightly thicker than usual ramen noodles were flawless. Adding to the experience were generous slices of baby bok choy, negi (Japanese green onion), slices of seasoned bamboo shoots (menma), roasted peanuts, and thinly julienned strands of ginger. For dipping the meat, a small bowl of grated ginger also arrived, into which the server recommended we pour a shoyu-ponzu sauce. Outstanding! Honolulu’s great ramen shops likely started up to cater to the legions of Japanese tourists who visit Hawaii, but the locals and other visitors have benefitted greatly from their presence.

Ox-tail shio ramen

Ox-tail shio ramen

Ramen Nakamura
2141 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI
808.922.7960
 

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Ramen at Fu Lin (Seattle, WA)


This was interesting. A Chinese restaurant that serves ramen and large signs in Japanese clearly in view behind the expansive storefront windows. A good friend of ours recommended this place for ramen.

Located in the International District, Fu Lin has a special ramen menu, among which are included variations of shoyu, miso and tonkotsu ramen. Marketing ploy? An attempt to lure Japanese customers? It turns out that the owner/chef, born and raised in China, lived and cooked in Japan for ten years before crossing the ocean to settle here.

Though my wife and I were eyeing the same miso chashu ramen, I changed my order to tonkotsu chashu ramen so we could sample both kinds. The noodle soups were served in large bowls with the broth a good inch and a half below the rim. An important component of a good ramen is the noodle itself, in this case perfectly cooked and having great texture. In Asia, serious eaters will finish the entire bowl very quickly in order to enjoy the pasta texture throughout the meal. Eaters here don’t eat as furiously, so inevitably the noodles will soften.

The charsiu, five large slices in all, were lean, very tender and slightly sweet, wonderfully flavorful. Not pork belly slices that rameniacs like, these will appeal to diners who eschew too much fat. Five spice flavors infused the menma (seasoned bamboo shoot slices), leaning more toward Chinese flavors than Japanese. Bean sprouts, wakame (seaweed) and a good dose of sliced green onions rounded out the toppings of both ramen.

Miso charsiu ramen

Miso charsiu ramen

Tonkotsu charsiu ramen

Tonkotsu charsiu ramen

The miso broth was rich and thankfully not too salty, admittedly impossible to make a good, low-sodium miso broth, and having slight ginger overtones. Always in the hunt for a good tonkotsu broth, I found Fu Lin’s to be milky and flavorful, though middling on the pork-flavor intensity scale. The same friend who recommended the ramen here is of the opinion that, in the Seattle area, Fu Lin serves the best version. So far, I have no argument with that. Ramen addicts would do well to walk just a block up the street from the inconsistent Samurai Noodle and have their fix here instead.

Fu Lin
512 S King St
Seattle, WA 98104
206.749.0678
Menu
Map

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Tonkotsu Ramen at Ai Sushi (Bellevue, WA)


While I was getting my Hawaiian meal at Island Grill (see below), my wife was ordering tonkotsu ramen from Ai Sushi, also located in the Crossroads Mall food court. Let me first start off by saying that I’m always wary when a restaurant that does not specialize in it offers tonkotsu, a ramen that requires time and effort to make.  As an aside, I admit to having more doubts when the cook is not even Japanese (although this obviously wasn’t an issue at a ramenya in Santa Fe nor is it at Fu Lin). Some chefs proclaim an enthusiasm for making tonkotsu, with very disappointing results, as was the case at Bo Ramen, a pop-up that sprang up last year. It was a disaster (☆½) here at Ai Sushi.

Tonkotsu ramen from Ai Sushi

Tonkotsu ramen from Ai Sushi

The pork slices seemed more like teriyaki-glazed chashu (as char siu is called in Japanese), uncharacteristically lean and disconcertingly sweet. Health considerations aside, pork in ramen typically are slices of the belly, unctuous and tender, the best of which should almost melt in the mouth. The half egg was fully cooked, normally an odd thing to complain about, except that the ideal that Japanese ramen chefs aim for is a hard white tinged with soy sauce and barely set, runny yolk, clearly not the case here. For sure, this is not a deal-breaker but not authentic either. The noodles themselves were good, with fine texture.

The broth is tonkotsu’s raison d’être. The best versions are very porky in flavor, fatty, gelatinous and milky in consistency, with a hint of ginger and other aromatics. It takes almost an eternity to make, genuinely requiring at least two days over a burner, which if you think about it is impossible at a restaurant nestled in a food court inside a mall that closes up every night. Special exemptions for restaurants? Maybe, but I doubt it.

Ai Sushi‘s broth is a total, unmitigated disaster. It is thin, oddly flavored, out-of-balance, with no luxuriance or weight typical of the broth. It isn’t even a good, ordinary ramen broth. Swill is a better word.

Ai Sushi
15600 NE 8th St
Crossroads Mall Food Court
Bellevue, WA 98008
425.373.9389
 

The Bomb at Ton-Chan (San Gabriel, CA)—CLOSED


Before the crush of food preparation for osechi ryori, five of us headed over to Ton-Chan for lunch. A previous review of it is here. Instead of the usual Sapporo miso tonkotsu ramen that others ordered, I went for one appropriately called The Bomb, basically a miso tonkotsu ramen with spicy ground pork. As noted before, the addition of chile paste, optional with all three kinds of tonkotsu ramen (shio, shoyu and miso), is a modern introduction to appease the public’s growing appetite for spicy dishes. The Bomb is another departure, a synthesis of Japanese and Chinese styles. Even without adding the chiles, the ramen is lustily hot, though not anything approaching Ton-Chan‘s six-chile noodles. The same rich tonkotsu broth is here, along with slices of baby bok choy, slivered green onions and half of a perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg (firm whites, runny yolks) that Ton-Chan does so well. In short, this is a tasty alternative to the standard soup noodles.

The Bomb

The Bomb

Ton-chan (**NOW CLOSED**)
821 W Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776
626.282.3478