Thursday, 14 October 2010

Food and Restaurant: Sapporo @ Sai Wan Ho

Lazy? Nope. I have been so busy, but I have prepared something great to recommend, hope you will like it.

Our topic today is RAMEN!!! Japanese noodles!!!

Chuka Soba Inoue serves shoyu ramen (with soy-enhanced chicken broth) near the Tsukiji fish market.
Image from New York Times

I'm a big ramen fan, went to Hokkaido 2 years ago and became a bigger fan, went to Toyko in August this year and became an even bigger one! Having tasted various ramen in 2 places of Japan made me gastronomically picky, and the more picky and choosy I get, the easier I get disappointed by the ramen  in Hong Kong.

I have a few ramen restaurants on my never-go-again list:

  1. Ajisen Ramen @ everywhere -- aijisen soup with lots of Ajinomoto 味の素 (MSG) , "I-can-cook-better" instant-noodles-like ramen, lack texture and everything.
  2. Domon @ Causeway Bay and @ Langham Place -- hot soup but chokingly salty, original Hokkaido ramen? I didn't see any abalone ramen in Hokkaido. Chua Lam's recommendation? No thanks.
  3. Noodle House Ippei-An @ Miramar Shopping Centre - nothing special.
  4. Yachiyo Ramen @ Central -- my girlfriend doesn't like and she is twice as picky as I am.
  5. Fukuoka Noodle @ Sai Wan Ho -- the egg was alright, but the rest are just too plain.
  6. Daruma Ramen House @ Tai Han-- new shop, not opened too long ago, lots of people waiting, takes an hour to get in, first sip of the soup tastes rich and porky fatty, but lose taste right from the second sip. Corn-starchy soup is too thick for me, noodles resemble that from Ajisen Ramen. Long queue might look good, but quality told otherwise. Shop owner claimed that he learnt from famous Tokyo ramen? Not even 10% close to what I had in Tokyo!!!
As far as branches are concerned, Ramen Sanpachi offers the most consistent ramen, but if I have a choice, I would choose 2 other ones on Hong Kong island, one of which is Sapporo @ Sai Wan Ho.

Image from

Image dated 2009-10-10

Apart from being close to where I live, one of this restaurant's owner has the passion to strive of improvement and perfection, and I like that. Look at the dates of the following 2 pictures of the same tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen I took, you can see the improvement.

Image dated 2009-10-10

Image dated 2009-10-25

The improvement in the soup colour and arrangements are obvious. Here's one more picture of miso ramen.

Image dated 2009-10-25

I went to Sapporo again yesterday and at the same time, pay the owner (who recently became my student) a visit. She told me that the soup is boiled for 10 hours every day with bones, chicken and fish, and added no MSG, the noodles are imported from Hokkaido and thus possess the quality to stay chewy and elastic even soaked in hot soup for a long time (it was proven to be true as we were mainly chatting and I had my noodles really slowly).

Too bad I didn't take my camera with me yesterday!

She recommended me various meal sets but I had too small a stomach and too strong a craving for ramen,  so I only ordered tonkotsu ramen ($60) with additional fried dumplings. The bottom of the dumplings were crispy and golden-brown, the pork filling was just the right amount for me.

She also invited me to try a home-dish of Okinawa 沖縄 -- scrambled eggs with bitter melon and tofu. I was most impressed by the "crunchiness" of the bitter melon and the smoothness and richness of the tofu.

Was there any bias in what I said? No, because she only became my student in mid-September, but I have been visiting the restaurant since the opening week.

Will I be back? You bet I will!

gastronomically -- (adj) relating to the preparation and consumption (= eating) of good food
picky --(adj) informal disapproving describes someone who is very careful about choosing only what they like
choosy -- (adj) informal difficult to please because you are very exact about what you like
craving -- (n) [C] a strong or uncontrollable want
crunchy -- (adj) describes food that is firm and makes a loud noise when it is eaten
bias -- (n) [C usually singular U] often supporting or opposing a particular person or thing in an unfair way by allowing personal opinions to influence your judgment


Aijisen Ramen

Domon @ Causeway Bay and @ Langham Place

Noodle House Ippei-An @ Miramar Shopping Centre

Yachiyo Ramen @ Central

Fukuoka Noodle @ Sai Wan Ho

Daruma Ramen House @ Tai Han

Sapporo @ Sai Wan Ho