hokkaido ramen santouka
I finally decided to go downtown and try out Santouka, the relatively-new ramen shop on Robson. Normally, going downtown just to try ramen would be a bit of a far trip and a hassle, but Teaze mochi waffles were tempting me (it was closed!), and I wanted to visit the Robson Gap. In any case, I was excited to get the chance to compare Santouka to Motomachi, Benkei, Kintaro, and Misoya.
It was pretty nice and simple inside. Santouka has a large circular communal table in the front area, and several smaller tables lined up beside the glass-walled open kitchen. There was a short 5 minute wait to get seated. They have combinations here (they run you around $13), where you choose a rice bowl to go with your ramen. The rice bowls are pretty small though, so don’t come expecting to get stuffed.
|Shoyu ramen with grilled salmon rice bowl|
The bowl of ramen is slightly smaller than those at Benkei, Motomachi, etc. Furthermore, Santouka doesn’t give you the option to pick and choose toppings to add to the ramen. Fortunately, my bowl of noodles still came with all my favourite toppings: menma (bamboo shoots), nori (seaweed), and the all-important soy-sauce hard boiled egg. I think it’s called shio-tama, but Santouka makes really good ones! Further on the plus side, the pork that Santouka uses in their ramen is hands-down the best out of the ramen places in Vancouver; it’s well marbled and flavourful.
The negatives that occur to me offhand about Santouka mostly have to do with the size of the portions. Now, I’m not usually one to complain about portion size, as long as the food is good. But here, with competing restaurants just minutes away, serving essentially the same dish for essentially the same price, portion size can be a deciding factor. Especially with the quality of Santouka’s ramen, giving more noodles for the price could make them the go-to ramen place along this strip of Robson street.