#FOOD: SANTOUKA RAMEN ARRIVES IN TORONTO
So basically, Toronto has Ramen Fever. Yet another Competitor has entered the landscape of Japanese Noodle Shops in the City and based on the recommendation of a friend Laura, who actually has a Ramen Blog named It’s Raining Mian, myself and a few of my BFFs decided to give Santouka a try. Luckily enough, the Shop actually was open on New Year’s Day and this was the perfect way to cap-off a festive and chilly Holiday.
Santouka, which actually translates to “Mountain-Top Fire”, is the first Ontario (British Columbia got it first) addition to the internationally-popular Chain of Restaurants which trace back to 1988 when Founder Hitoshi Hatanaka opened his first ever shop in Hokkaido. Hatanaka was inspired greatly by the Rocky of Japanese Food Dramas, Tampopo, which stars a familiar face to North Americans, Ken Watanabe.
I myself tried their spicy Limited Edition Kara Miso Ramen, showcasing first and foremost their lusciously tender two-day braised Pork Jowls. Unlike some of the other Shops which dress their Noodles with Meat, the delicious Jowls were served on a separate plate, giving you the option to dip the slices into the immensely flavourful Broth. In my honest opinion, there isn’t a more tasty bowl of Ramen in the City. Fear not if the concept of Spicy Miso Broth or Jowls scare you, standard Ramen with Fish Cakes and leaner Pork Cuts are available in three other varieties of Broths: Shoyu (Soy Sauce), Shio (Sea Salt) and Miso (Bean Paste-based).
Despite a 30-minute wait and what unjustly seemed like a mad rush to get out of our table, the Hot Spot is somewhere I likely would return to even if it lacks the ambiance of the likes of Momofuku Noodle Bar and Kinton Ramen. $17 for a bowl of Ramen I admit is a bit on the pricy side, but the quality is there to back it all up.
Santouka is located at 81 Dundas Street East at Church Street. Visit their Official Website for more.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)