Posts Tagged ‘Tonkostu Ramen’

Written by Girl Has to Eat and Food Porn Nation
Photos by Food Porn Nation

Chashu men, Kanadaya, Tottenham Court Road

Kanada-Ya on St Giles High Street opened its doors in September 2014 and has since cultivated a large following with its special brand of ramen. Kanada-Ya is the brainchild of the award winning tonkostu broth master Mr Kanada who has been making ramen in Japan since 2009. It specialises only in tonkostu ramen and does not stray into shio, shoyu or miso based broths.

The secret to¬†Kanada-Ya‚Äôs¬†success is its¬†specially cooked 18-hour pork bone¬†tonkotsu¬†broth¬†which¬†is tended to overnight.¬†There are three different types of ramen¬†bowls¬†available ‚Äď the original, the¬†moyashi¬†(a lighter broth) and¬†chashu-men (ramen finished with a¬†chashu¬†collar).¬†¬†The word ramen is taken from the Chinese word ‚Äėlamien‚Äô which means ‚Äėhand pulled noodles‚Äô and the ramen at¬†Kanada-Ya¬†is literally that – hand pulled noodles prepared on site¬†by¬†their very own noodle whiz.¬†Kanada-ya¬†also¬†serve¬†onigiri¬†(Japanese rice balls wrapped in¬†nori) that can be washed down with a selection¬†of Japanese beers, sake or soft drinks.

Like Kanada-Ya’s menu, the décor is simple and basic. But it does the trick as ramen is Japanese fast food rather than a lingering sit down dining experience. But Kanada-Ya has become so popular that there are often queues which can lead to about a half hour wait.

chashu-men, Kanadaya, Tottenham Court Road

The¬†chashu-men¬†¬†(¬£12.50)¬†caught¬†our eye with the promise of¬†an¬†extra¬†chashu¬†pork¬†collar. The¬†tonkotsu¬†broth was delicious –¬†smooth, creamy, fatty and frothy;¬†full of depth and beautifully rounded.¬†The ramen¬†was cooked¬†to¬†order;¬†very firm, firm, regular or soft.¬†We tried both¬†firm¬†and regular and we found¬†the noodles perfectly cooked to order and that they had been¬†pulled to an exact thinness that was¬†lovely and chewy.¬†The¬†chashu¬†is made using the neck so it is far leaner than that of pork belly.

Extra¬†gold label¬†seaweed (nori¬†–¬†¬£1),¬†chashu¬†cured¬†burford¬†brown egg (hanajuku¬†egg¬†–¬†¬£2)¬†and the charred black garlic oil (Ma-yu¬†–¬†¬£1.50) can¬†all¬†be ordered as additional extras.¬†We tried and loved them all.¬†The¬†hanajuku¬†egg was¬†an egg¬†cured with¬†chashu¬†(pork pieces)¬†and¬†was¬†something special.¬†It was¬†both¬†beautifully¬†sweet and savoury¬†and¬†exuded¬†a lovely warm¬†brown glow with a¬†golden¬†gooey¬†centre. The shiny¬†charred black garlic¬†oil was¬†as dark as¬†the¬†night¬†and¬†filled¬†the air with delicious¬†stinky¬†garlic¬†aroma¬†that¬†enhanced¬†the¬†flavours of this brilliant¬†ramen.¬†¬†The¬†nori¬†was excellent with a lovely flavour.

sake onigiri, Kanadaya, Tottenham Court Road


Shoryu Ramen was launched in November 2012 by the team at Japan Centre and Shoryu have quickly gained a following for their ramen. They now have locations spread across Carnaby, Regent St and Soho. If ramen wasn’t enough, they also dish up¬†the very popular¬†hirata buns, sushi, sashimi and yakitori as part of their sides menu. Recommended in the Michelin Guide 2014 and 2015, Shoryu have come head to head with the likes of Bone Daddies and Tonkostu Ramen. These are the three amigos that are dominating the Soho food scene with their ramen. What makes Shoryu really special is that they¬†specialise in the Hakata style tonkotsu ramen from the Hakata district of Fukuoka city of Japan. They promise that this is a bonafide tonkotsu ramen which you will rarely find outside of Japan. Thanks to Executive Chef Kanji Furukawa, who was born and raised from the region. Londoners can now¬†enjoy the Hakata style ramen made with a thick, rich, white pork soup and thin, straight ramen noodles. This style of ramen is my absolute favourite, so I am really looking forward to see what Shoryu has to offer.

barbeque char siu pork hirata buns


Ramen has the power to polarise people to cause widespread debate on “Where to find the best ramen?” and boy will we hunt it down. It is Japanese soul food at its core and has developed from the humble streets of Japan to achieve a cult-like status.

Since its grand opening, Ippudo has been hot on everyones lips.

“Is it as good as they say?” (See previous post).

Whether you agree or disagree, Ippudo has to be said and done.

I was invited to return to Ippudo to take on a crash course ramen 101 session and to learn more about the Ippudo experience. There was also the offer to try all their ramen. How could I refuse.

Dress with expandable waistline?? Check!

collage fpn


Ippudo has quickly become to what some would consider as legend. Conquering the likes of New York, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Seoul, Shanghai. Ippudo has firmly found its place in Sydney’s Westfield. Since its opening it has quickly drawn in the crowds and cult following with its signature ramen and pork buns.

ippudo - close ramen

Ippudo specialises in Tonkostu ramen and offers up 3 variations of this:

  • Akamaru shinaji¬†(above): the recipe is 25 years old and includes miso, garlic oil, pork belly, black mushrooms, bean sprouts and shallots ‚Äď the Tonkotsu broth is slow cooked with pork bones to add extra depth of flavour
  • Shiromaru motoaji: Tonkotsu broth served with Hakata ultra thin noodles and includes pork loin, black mushrooms, cabbage & shallots
  • Karaka men: Tonkotsu broth with Hakata wavy noodles and includes spicy miso paste with ground pork

You can also specify the firmness of your noodles from “soft, medium or firm”. Which is funny because as a child I loved them soggy but as I have gotten older, I have graduated up to medium and now firm. I love a firm texture! They recommend having it firm but I wonder, how do you like your ramen?

akamaru w flavoured egg

Having tried 2 out of 3 Ramen’s at Ippudo, the Akamaru with flavoured egg ($18) is my absolute favourite. I love the intensity and richness of the broth and every bowl of Ramen always comes down to the broth.

The broth comes positively gleaming with richness and flavour. I am so impatient I quickly go in for the dive and I completely immersed in it. It is sensational.

I also love the fragrant hints of garlic oil and the option to swirl the miso paste into your broth. To do so, lifts the broth to the highest order.  My ramen is firm, adding texture and bite contrasting nicely with the fork tender pork belly that melts. The addition of flavoured egg is luxuriant, oozing its way out. Soft, rich and plump.

ippudo pork bun

The ippudo pork buns ($4) are so delicious, every mouthful is just as delicious as the next. The buns are super soft, the pork is spicy, fatty and tender. Setting itself apart from the creaminess of Japanese kewpie mayo and crisp lettuce leaves. Reminds me a lot of the famous Momofuku pork buns.