[Tokyo, Japan] In a search for some of the best ramen in Tokyo, I combed more than 10 different Japanese ramen stores over 2 trips. Surprisingly, I did not get sick eating ramen for both lunch and dinner because every bowl was just very different yet all flavourful. (Read: The Must-Try Ramen at Shinjuku Tokyo + How to Order Ramen via a Vending Machine)
Santouka’s founder Hitoshi Hatanaka opened his own ramen shop at Hokkaido in 1988 because he was unsatisfied with all other ramen establishments. Its thin-noodle ramen with elegant broth topped perfectly with mouthwatering slices of char-siu pork and pickled plums gained popularity in Hokkaido immediately, even though it was a 9-seater small shop.
But it was Santouka’s specialty Toroniku char-siu pork which was made from the “rarest of the rare” pork cheeks that changed the fate of its ramen ever since.
Its signature Toroniku ramen comes in shio (salt), shoyu (soya), miso (bean paste) and kara-miso (hot bean paste) flavours, at a price of 1,150 yen (SGD$17, USD$13.90) for a small bowl and 1,250 yen (SGD$18.50, USD$15.10) for a medium.
The Japanese are really patient and determined to perfect their craft in cooking, as seen as the number of hours they take to simmer their pork bones Tonkotsu soup. 20 hours. 20 full hours. That is almost a day before other ingredients such as vegetables, dried fish and kelp at added.
And, their soup is never boiled, maintained at an optimal temperature. No wonder it doesn’t really ever feel hot enough. Their pork cheek is a must order, guaranteed to change your perception of pork because it is just so melt-in-your-mouth tender-fully delectable.
Both the tsukemen (dipping noodles) and kara-miso are of the usual high quality standards of the Japanese, definitely better than the ones back home, though not a lot more. That is to say their quality is still quite consistent, and Singaporeans are not getting too bad a deal.
Even though Ramen Santouka should rank as my top few in Singapore, there are just too many better and more special ramen shops in Tokyo. Just saying.
Tokyo Shinjuku Minamiguchi Shop
160-0023 Nakaoki Building, 1F, 1-18-5 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (Take a train to JR Shinjuku Station Exit 2, about 5 min walk away) Tel: 03-3349-0338
Other Tokyo Branches: Nihonbashi Yaesu Bldg, Ikebukuro Minanmi-Ikebukuro, Harajuku Kakuda Bldg, Kanda Genki Bldg, Gotanda Gurinnderu Gotannda, Shibuyu Gojo Bldg, Shinjuku Mylord Odakyu
Opening Hours: 11:00am-11:00pm Daily