After an awesome day of slip and slide with an enthusiastic hub of Vancouverites, we changed out of our bikinis, deflated our inner tubes and hopped on the SeaBus. KitKat wanted to slurp some noodles, so we scurried off to Santouka for ramen. It was around 10pm when we got there but it was still bustling with people. Luckily they had seats for us at the bar.
Santouka is by far our favourite authentic ramen joint in Vancouver. You know they’re good when there’s always a long line up outside their shop. Service is swift and their noodles are always perfectly cooked to al dente, and quality is consistent. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with Santouka.
KitKat and I ordered their goro-niku gyoza ($5.95) to share. These pan fried pork dumplings were delectable. The skin was thin and perfectly crispy on the bottom. The pork inside was juicy and full of flavour.
KitKat ordered the kara miso ($11.45). Initially, I was going to get the kara miso too since I was feeling a little chilly from being in and out of the water, but after our long walk down Robson, my body warmed up and I no longer wanted something steamy and hot. I opted for the tsuke-men ($12.45) instead, where the ramen is served cold on the side with a bowl of their hot simmered pork bone soup seasoned with shoyu for dipping. The tonkotsu broth was rich and creamy and had deep, concentrated flavours, without being overly fatty or salty. There were pieces of menma (fermented/braised bamboo shoots) tender cubes of pork, aji-tama (soft boiled egg) and green onions in the soup. While I expected the egg to have a semi runny centre, it was overcooked and not short of being hardboiled. The ramen noodles in the tsuke-men are different from the usual noodles they use in all their other ramen selections. These dipping noodles are slightly thicker, denser, and chewier. The portion of noodles are also bigger. I ended up packing about a third of my ramen home. I’ve had Santouka’s tsuke-men before, but I had forgotten what it tasted like and thought I’d try it again. While it was good, it wasn’t as amazing as the kara miso. I prefer the smaller portion size, complexity of the spicy miso broth and thinner noodles.
After ramen, we frolicked over to Chatime to top off our day with some tasty boba. While a cellphone (water damage) and a pair of (KitKat’s) sandals were lost (twice) today, we still had a fantastic time. The following day I made the upgrade and got a new phone (finally). Some memories are gone forever, but that makes room for new and better ones, right? At least that’s what I try to convince myself. In the end, we just gotta cherish what we have while we still have it. I’m still struggling to come to terms with the concept of loss, but good food and awesome company undoubtedly makes the disheartening task easier. Carrying on…
HOKKAIDO RAMEN SANTOUKA
+1 604 681 8121
1690 Robson Street, Vancouver