Four words: Best Ramen in Vancouver! Whenever I crave ramen, I think about Hokkaido Ramen Santouka. From the delicious broth to the unforgettable toroniku, it keeps you wanting more. As of today, I've been to a few of the ramen shops in downtown. As for the Robson Street and West End area, I will rank my ramen satisfaction in the following order:
1. Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
2. Motomachi Shokudo Ramen
3. Kintaro Ramen
4. Benkei Ramen
*I will soon write a review on each of the them explaining why I gave them the corresponding rankings.
Anyways, back to Santouka Ramen. You will almost always have to line up. I have been there countless of times and every single time, there is a wait. The worse time to go will be from 7pm to 9pm. Try to go before every gets off work or a weekday. When you step into this ramen shop, there is a communal table that seats approximately 15 people. This time, I went with a group of 4. We were quite lucky as we were seated in the inner dining room with our own table.
The service was quite speedy. Moments after ordering, here's what was on the table:
I absolutely loved this. You have a choice of Shio, Shoyu, and Miso flavour. The miso broth was amazing; flavourful but not salty. The ramen noodles were cooked perfectly - not too soft, not too chewy. And I love the fact they serve the toppings on the side so you can add to your liking. I personally don't like green onion, so I didn't put all of them in. Lastly, the toroniku... it was to die for. Every person who enjoy ramen needs to try this at least once in their life! So what is this toroniku cha-shu? Well, it essentially pork jowl - the lower part of the cheek. It has a very rich flavour due to the high content of marble fat. I like to dip it in my miso broth then let it melt in my mouth. Recommended by Hippo!!
Meko wanted to try this. The cold noodles are on a separate dish because it is meant to be dipped in the soup broth, then consumed. I thought the portion looked enormous and it was. The noodle is twice the amount of a regular ramen order. Meko really liked it. He was really bloated after finishing it. Although, I did share some of my delicious toroniku with him.
You only live once, so please try the Tokusen Toroniku Ramen! Both the toroniku and the ramen noodle itself was great! Absolutely fell in love after my first few bites. The only cons about this place is the long line up it can have at times. The waitresses do try their best to accommodate the seating of each party, but with the small spacing, it can be difficult to satisfy everyone.
Location: In downtown west end - on Robson Street, off Bidwell Street. There is paid street meter parking on Robson. Very rarely do you find the free 2 hour parking spots.
Food: Outstanding! A 10/10 for the food we order!
Service: Industry standard. Most Japanese ramen shop have friendly waitresses.
Price: The total came to $59 with tax for four people.
Will I come back? Yes! Highly recommended!
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka 山頭火
1690 Robson Street