Limited time only – Santouka Boston

For a while, Boston/Cambridge really only had one contender in the race for the best Ramen in the region. Yume Wo Katare. Even so, many complained that the broth was too fatty, too rich and the portions were too huge. It is not a dish you will want to eat too frequently, although the food-induced coma after each visit does help one forget how heavy it was. What New England needs, is a Santouka.

Yes, you heard me right. We need a ramen that is rich, flavorful, but not overwhelmingly so, and Santouka delivers just that! From the 3rd to 5th of March, Santouka will be holding a pop-up/survey event to find out the taste of Bostonians in general. For $10.67 (after taxes before tips), you will get a manageable bowl of hokkaido style ramen in thick tonkotsu broth, topped with 2 slices of perfectly cooked char siu (made from pork rib, not belly), menma, spring onion, black fungus, and a red berry-like thing. Don’t forget the sprinkle of toasted sesame that adds that much more flavor to the ramen. All of these are served in their signature white-blue ceramic bowl.

Macad_140304_DSC1471.jpg

Santouka holds a very special place in my heart because it is the very first ramen I tried in Singapore and the very reason why I got hooked on ramen. The miso tonkotsu was brilliantly savory, and the chasiu practically melted in your mouth. Don’t get me started on the tamago and pork cheeks; they are possibly the most decadent toppings anyone can ask for in a ramen. However, when I last tried it back home recently, it got too salty, and the noodle was cooked a little softer than I would have liked. Sad to say, I left Santouka with a heavy heart.

Today, I am glad to report, Santouka Boston has made me a believer again. The soup is even better than I recalled. Sure, the porky flavor implodes, and you get crazy levels of umaminess with every gulp like every other good tonkotsu stock, but what makes this one time so special is a new aroma never before tasted. If I had to guess, it would be a fragrance you get from seared meat like steak or pork chop, or crispy fried lard. It’s just a light hint, nothing overt, which makes it all the more appealing. I could be wrong about what it is, but one thing’s for sure, it’s good. To know that the soup still had the potential to grow in flavor completely blew my mind. In fact, when the two Japanese sitting next to I experienced foodgasm with every single slurp (Ahh, wahh, ahhh), I knew I was not alone. If I had to list a flaw, it was probably the noodle and I am nit picking. The noodle lacked a good bite to it, not in the overcooked way, but something else I can’t quite put a word to. Nonetheless, when coupled with all the goodness I described above, it is still the best ramen I have tried in Boston.

Macad_140304_DSC1450.jpg

For anyone interested in queuing, this is what happened. I cycled to Newbury street at 3pm and ended up 5th in the queue. The queue quickly grew and by 3.30pm, there were about 40. I picked up a ticket at about 3.30pm, and the first 10 or so were seated at 3.45pm. At 4pm, I got my bowl of hot ramen. No extras, no seconds, no questions asked. I filled in a survey form at the end of the meal, and when I left at 4.30pm…. there was a crowd of close to a hundred. After getting their ‘fast track’ ticket, People were told to come back at 6.30pm! If you intend to make it on wednesday, be sure to queue early, I would say no later than 3.15pm.

Santouka? I look forward to seeing you in a year’s time. *Fingers Crossed*

 

Comments are closed.