Hello! Charlie here again for a review of our second ramen adventure! This next place was on the list Nicole put together, but I had also been there before thanks to one of my Japanese roommate from last year.
Place: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka is an international chain with its flagship store in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Japan. Their focus is all about the balance of flavors in ramen, and there are two locations in Boston. The one we went to off of Harvard Square in Cambridge, and a newer location in Back Bay near Hynes Convention Center.
Ramen Ordered: Toroniku Goma Miso Ramen and Tonkotsu Miso Ramen
1. Noodles: Noodles were pretty good, and very similar to Amateras. Again, they were not homemade noodles, but they were well cooked and elastic. Not much else to say there.
2. Broth: My Toroniku Goma Miso Ramen had a miso and sesame flavored broth. I was expecting this combination to be thick, since both miso paste and sesame can be rather dense, but it was well balanced with water, rich, and creamy.
Nicole liked her Tonkotsu Miso Ramen better than the Shoyu from Amateras because it was less salty. Shoyu broth with the soy sauce is expected to be on the saltier side, where as Miso is light and can be rather boring. Her miso also had some bonito flavor, which is dried fish that helped liven up the flavor.
3. Toppings: My ramen had pickled bamboo, kikurage mushrooms, arugula, and pork cheek. I felt the bamboo was a little out of place for a heavier ramen broth, but understand that it is there to try to lighten up the strong flavors. I also would have liked to have more mushrooms like in the picture on the menu, but I still liked the rubbery texture, and flavor of the ones I had. The meat had a very strong, delicious flavor, stronger than Amateras, but was not as melt in your mouth. Amateras uses pork belly, while this was pork cheek. My favorite part of the ramen was the arugula, this is really what help balanced the ramen in my opinion!
Nicole’s ramen had pickled bamboo, scallions, and seaweed. She also opted for a small ramen/combo platter, because you only get an egg for the ramen if you add it, or order a combo. Some places will include the egg in the ramen, but with the combo she also got to munch on some gyoza.
She really enjoyed the scallions with the broth, for the same reason I enjoyed the arugula with mine. It really helped make it refreshing. She also enjoyed the soft boiled egg, and gave half for me to add to my ramen as well.
I would give this place a 4 out of 5 again. I would like to go back and try some other ramen options on their menu.