ramen has become so popular now. just about every japanese restaurant started to offer ramen on their menu and new ramen shops keep popping up everywhere, but sadly, not many shops can get it right.
if you are a ramen fan, mostly likely you have heard or eaten santouka ramen. santouka ramen is one of the biggest franchise ramen noodles in Japan and they have opened their stores in the US as well as Canada (several shops in California, Seatle, New Jersey, Hawaii and Toronto). they are hosting a test marketing event in boston now, so today, i had the honor to get a preview of their ramen and interview the president of santouka ramen.
most of their shops in the states are located in mitsuwa, the largest Japanese Supermarket in the US. ive had their ramen countless time in new jersey, san diego, and LA. and no doubt it’s one of the best bowls of ramen ive had at all times.
santouka does offer a variety of ramen in their shops, but for this event, they only offer shio ramen which is their very first and signature ramen, also my favorite one.
not only i love the simplicity of it, every component of the bowl is just perfect and they are consistent every time i have it. they are known for their mild, pearl colored tonkotsu broth which takes about 20 hours to simmer the pork bones before adding vegetables, dried fish, kelp and other special ingredients. the broth just has SO MUCH depth to it; rich, creamy, flavorful, while still remain mild. the flavor is so complex but so clean, simple, and pleasant (ha, i bet you know what i mean).
the pork is cooked to perfection. not only so well flavored, but also super tender and melts in your mouth. they use pork back ribs instead of pork belly so the their cha-shu has the perfect balance of lean meat and fat which goes perfectly with their clean but complex broth.
the noodles, which i care for the most, had the perfect texture. they are on the thinner side (thicker than hakata style), but still al dente, chewy to the bite.
the pickled plum is their signature topping which is only served with shio ramen. it has a sour taste and light crunchy texture which gives a nice contrast overall. it’s also topped with kikurage mushrooms and bamboo shoot which both add more texture to the soup.
i also had the pleasure to speak with Mr. Kikuta, the President & CEO of santouka ramen. they are planning to grow out of mitsuwa and open real shops possibly in Boston and other cities. they are here in boston right now serving 200 bowls of ramen per day from 4pm to 9pm to test of the market in boston and hopefully will help them to make a decision whether or not to open a store here. he said japanese people love boston, since it’s such a historical city and full of great colleges with a lot of successful people. he wishes santouka can grow more successful as the city grows.
they are very serious about their ramen and they make sure every bowl is exceptional. i could feel his passion for their ramen as he told me that he was very excited for me to try their ramen because the broth was outstanding today. indeed, it was extra tasty. just the way he personally and meticulously laid out the napkin and utensils on the table for me showed so much care.
i highly recommend stopping by 269 newbury st today or tomorrow if you are a fan of santouka or just ramen in general. slurp down the best bowl of ramen you can possibly get in boston and give them some suggestions. i really wish they can open a store in boston.
they are hosting the event at Itadaki
269 Newbury St
Boston, MA 02116
*I did not pay for this meal. All opinions are my own.