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Stephanie is a contributing writer to “The Hudsucker.” By day, she is a teaching assistant at Kumon, attempting to convince young children that 36 is indeed less than 37, but by night, she turns into an intrepid Instagram food photographer.

The Canadian Foodie: Adventures in Ramen-Eating

Ah, ramen. “Wheat noodles” in Japanese, and absolutely delicious in every language. A dish so heavenly that there have literally been songs written about it. Or at the very least, animated cat videos.

Image Credit: Stephanie Mau

Image Credit: Stephanie Mau

As evidenced by my attempt to wax poetic about Japanese food, ramen is going to be the first stop on our culinary tour across Vancouver—a virtual trip which will hopefully prove helpful to my fellow famished Vancouverites, and, well, just serve to frustrate and entice everybody else.

Luckily for you, this particular ramen shop we’re visiting today—Santouka—has locations all over the world. And though its Vancouver site may be a long ways away from its original shop in Hokkaido, its Japanese roots are clear for all to see. From the glossy plastic models of the ramen and gyozas beckoning to passersby in the shop window, to their large elliptical dining table meant for seating multiple parties together, you know you’re in for an authentic experience.

Oh, and did I mention the cute bandannas and Santouka t-shirts that make up the servers’ uniforms? I often find myself dreaming of a future in ramen waitressing just for the adorable tees. And all the free ramen I could eat, of course.

But of course, you’re not here just to read about my noodle aspirations. On to the food!

Image Credit: Stephanie Mau

Santouka has four basic types of ramen: shio (which has more of a light, creamy broth), miso (a broth which is mixed with miso paste), kara miso (a spicy twist on the miso ramen), and my personal favourite, shoyu (which has a broth mixed with soya sauce).

Try as I might (and I have tried, trust me), I have not been able to find a more impeccable broth than the one Santouka uses for their ramen. Most other ramen restaurants have plain, clear broths that leave a lot to be desired, but Santouka’s Tonkotsu (pork bone) broth is incredibly rich, like a warm, enveloping hug of pure flavour. Am I attempting to be poetic again? Forgive me. The ramen is just that good.

And don’t even get me started on the cha shu pork that comes in each bowl. Often times, a bowl of ramen can be brought down by pork that is either overly fatty (ugh, bad memories) or dry and stiff (the stuff of noodle nightmares). Santouka’s cha shu has a perfect balance of fat and meat, resulting in slices of pork that come as close to melting in your mouth as meat can. The only downside is that in each bowl of ramen, they only give you two slices of cha shu. This is usually enough for me, since the noodles and the broth are already quite filling, but there is an option to opt for extra cha shu – which in turn, costs extra money. But hey, who can put a price on deliciousness? (Well… I guess Santouka can.)

At this point, it probably sounds like I’m a paid spokesperson for Santouka Ramen. All I can say is, you have to try it to believe it. And as for me, remind me never to write a food review on an empty stomach at lunchtime again.

Like what you see? Santouka is located at 1690 Robson St., Vancouver. Other locations worldwide can be found here.

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    […] cupcake-flavoured lip balm to “I Heart Cupcakes” tote bags to cute Cupcakes t-shirts. (If only another beloved eatery of mine also sold their lovely […]

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