So, to be honest, I had to do a little homework here. Not that I mind doing homework – especially when it relates to food, but I wanted to make sure I had my ramen facts right. As with many other Asian countries, depending on the region, dishes may vary in flavour, ingredients and procedure. According to Wikipedia, Sapporo – the capital of Hokkaido is renown for it’s ramen. Miso ramen was born in Sapporo which is apparently “ideal for Hokkaido’s harsh, snowy winters”. We don’t get these harsh, snowy winters but when the temperature drops in Vancouver, I’d still like to reach for a bowl of ramen!
Anyway, the reason I’m talking Miso Ramen is because this is my go-to when I …go to ramen establishments (for lack of better wording). Generally, I like my soup a little thicker and with flavour so the miso broth is perfect for my taste.
When I arrived at Santouka, even though it was almost 3pm, it was still packed with people. Luckily, the server directed me to my own table. Hurray! I flipped through the menu, it’s pretty extensive for a ramen shop. They have varieties you can get at most ramen shops but they also have combos and “dipping” ramen, which is basically ramen served with soup on the side.
I decided to settle for my favourite kind of ramen, the Miso Ramen ($9.95) because I’m a creature of habit and also for comparison’s sake. In record time, my ramen appeared before me.
While the bowl of ramen is smaller than most other places, there is a fair portion of toppings and an army of ramen lurking under the miso-y surface. The broth is incredibly flavourful, the pork slices are tender and juicy with a roasted taste to them and the green onions and bamboo shoots (I think) give great crunch to the dish. The ramen is served almost al dente, which is perfect as you’re chowing down on your bowl of soup. I really thought I would still be hungry after this bowl of soup since it was smaller than most places, but in fact, I ended up not finishing my ramen (what? who am i??) because I was so full.
This area of Denman/Robson is packed with ramen shops but definitely try Hokkaido Ramen Santouka out. If the customers of a restaurant are any indication of authenticity, you’ll see that a great deal of Japanese customers come here (at least when I was sitting anyway).