Japanese ramen, with its heavily flavoured broth and chewy noodles, is one of Hongkongers’ favourite foods, especially when cooler temperatures come along. There are so many new ramen restaurants opening in Hong Kong it’s hard to keep up. Here’s what we thought of four newish places we’ve tried, each with their own characteristics.
Gotton, Sai Ying Pun
Gotton, which has 14 outlets in Japan, recently expanded to Hong Kong, opening a restaurant on Second Street in Sai Ying Pun. Its broth is made by boiling pork bones for 20 hours, and it offers four ramen dishes. The strong pork bones ramen (HK$95) has a rich broth filled with bean sprouts, seaweed and bamboo shoots. The pork bones chilli miso ramen (HK$98) is a new dish only offered in its Hong Kong restaurant to satisfy locals’ love for spicy food. It is only slightly spicy and the pork shoulder is tender. Besides ramen, there are other dishes such as Japanese Mentaiko rice, dumplings and fried chicken.
G/F, 8 Second Street, Sai Ying Pun, Western, tel: 2857 2368. Open Monday to Friday 11.45am-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm; Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 11.45am to 11pm
Kuma Ramen, Jordan
Manned by Japanese chefs, Kuma Ramen’s trademark broth is rich, as it is made by boiling pork bones for 12 hours with Japanese-imported seafood sauce. Each day 150kg of pork bones are used to make 150 bowls of soup, so the ramen available is limited. Kuma, which takes its name from Kumamoto, Japan, where it runs eight restaurants, offers five ramen dishes in Hong Kong.
The signature Kuma ramen (HK$83) features pork belly marinated with Japanese wine, garlic, and ginger for eight hours. The broth of the black Kuma ramen (HK$78) contains black garlic and deep-fried garlic, and the soup really is black.
G/F, 8 Parkes Street, Jordan, tel: 2567 2777. Open Monday to Sunday 11.30am-3pm, 6pm to 10pm. Also at 84 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 5502 6229. Open Monday to Sunday 11.30am to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm
Shinbusakiya Ramen, Wan Chai
With its woman head chef frying bean sprouts and onions in big woks in an open kitchen, Ramen Shinbusakiya in Wan Chai can easily be mistaken for a Chinese restaurant. It differs from other ramen restaurants in using fried ingredients. The fried style originates from Shibuya, a district in Tokyo.
There are four ramen dishes on offer: soy sauce ramen (HK$80), spicy miso ramen (HK$85) and roasted miso ramen (HK$80) and a new menu item, Niboshi soy sauce ramen (HK$70) made with fish oil and fish powder, using fish imported from Nagano, Japan. Frying the vegetables makes its ramen dishes more flavourful. Ramen Shinbusakiya operates seven restaurants in Japan.
10 Spring Garden Lane, Wan Chai, tel: 2331 9372. Open Monday to Sunday 12pm to 9pm
Taishoken Maruichi, Taikoo Shing
Tsukemen, a meal in which the noodles and the rest of the dish are served separately and diners dip the noodles in the broth before eating, is fast gaining in popularity in Hong Kong. Shugetsu (branches in Central and Quarry Bay) and Tetsu (Causeway Bay) are among the tsukemen restaurants already in Hong Kong. Taishoken Maruichi, which operates five restaurants in Japan, is the latest entrant to the Hong Kong market, having opened its first overseas outlet in Taikoo Shing. Taishoken Tsukemen (HK$62) serves a rich broth made by boiling pork bones with chicken, dried sardines and vegetables for 15 hours. The broth is produced in Japan and flown to Hong Kong. The fish powder tsukemen (HK$68) is special to the Hong Kong restaurant and has a strong fishy taste.
Shop G1019, Kam Sing Mansion, Sing Fai Terrace, 3 Tai Fung Avenue, Taikoo Shing, Tai Koo, tel: 2562 3200. Open Monday to Sunday 11.30am-10.30pm