So as you probably know by now, I’m a bit of a ramen-head. And in my endless quest for ramen, Santouka Ramen Vancouver must get a mention. It’s probably one of the busiest, if not the busiest ramen shop in VanCity. The shop is not that big, maybe only about 30 seats in the whole place, but it is lined up from open until close. Today wasn’t any different.
Since I was alone, I got a chance to sit right up at the bar. I love dining this way because you get to see how the cooks prepare and assemble the food. I know it’s geeky but I like to see how cooks cook. In this case, the ramen ‘master’ was completely in her element – almost zen-like, for lack of a better term. I ordered the Chashu Ramen combo with Grilled Salmon on Rice. I watched her assemble my soup ingredient by ingredient. First the Tare, which is like a base flavoring, and then she poured in the creamy, rich pork (tonkotsu) broth. She stirred the broth around quite vigorously, then she rolled in the perfectly cooked noodles. She swished the noodles around then, bit by bit, added the toppings – chashu (braised pork belly), pickled bamboo shoots, and nori (seaweed). I got, on the side, a bowl of rice topped with flakes of grilled salmon and peppery watercress and a small plate of pickled daikon and half a boiled egg.
Now you see it!
The first taste of the broth was wicked. So rich and flavorful, and oily too! The pork belly was, like, melt in your mouth, good. Everything tasted bang-on, exactly how I remembered it the first time around. I loudly slurped the noodles and even drank the broth from the bowl – the complete experience. It really is a shame that we don’t have anything even remotely close to this back home but it just makes me appreciate even more my every visit here. The next time you are in VanCity, make sure you eat here. It’s worth the wait, believe me.
Now you don’t!