I consider most of the ramen spots (Motomachi, Kintaro, Menya, and Benkei) in the city to be good but none of them blow me away. Ippudo is still my barometer for ramen, and nothing has come close to that.

A friend told me about a new spot on Robson called Santouka so I decided to check it out. Doing a bit of Internet research, Santouka is actually a ramen chain which has locations in Japan, California, HK and other cities in Asia.

We walked in on a Wednesday night and I was very surprised to find the place busy. Not bad for such a new restaurant. The atmosphere was nice, with a window spanning across the kitchen so I wouldn't get splattered by broth or more likely put in place so I can watch the cook making my bowl of soup. I really like being able to see the kitchen, it comforts me knowing that I can see the dude if he sneezes in my soup.

The menu was simple, showcasing a few different types of ramen (shiro, shoyu and tonkotsu). What really intrigued me was they have limited servings of pork jowl. They were already sold out but this is something I really want to go back and try. I ordered the shoyu ramen combo for $11.90 which came with a small ramen topped with fish cake, seaweed, kelp, 2 pieces of pork and green onions, a small bowl containing half a boiled egg and pickled cabbage and a side of bbq pork on rice.

So how did it taste? I really enjoyed the flavour of the shoyu (soya sauce) broth. I found it to be a touch rich with a slight earthy taste. It has been a while since I have been to Kintaro, or Motomachi but I think this broth is be better. The noodles which came out of a package were just okay to me.

Overall, this ramen spot stands up well with the competition. It sells for a similar price comparable to Menya, Benkei, Kintaro and has a great broth. I plan on returning to try the pork jowl.

Beware - Cash only

Santouka Ramen
1690 Robson Street
Just up the street from Guu Garlic.


Oh if you want to watch something funny/stupid here is the trailer for Ramen Girl.


jenk said... @ March 17, 2010 at 1:54 PM

NICE! More ramen!

Anonymous said... @ March 17, 2010 at 2:51 PM

I'm not so sure how I feel about it yet.

The ramen was pretty good, but it seems like it's half the serving of Kintaro/Benkei and $4 more expensive. Plus, cash only :(

Gyromite said... @ March 17, 2010 at 4:06 PM

my small was small but it filled me up. I know some big eaters that would be pissed if they were told that was their serving.

I have been repping portion control lately.


J-Free said... @ March 17, 2010 at 8:41 PM

kintaro has much larger portion plus corn (which is awesome in ramen) but i prefer the soup at santouka. it doesn't make you feel gross afterwards like kintaro's does (because of the bits of fat you see floating around).

if you go it's worth trying a toroniku at least once, that's some tasty pig face, and to clarify, a regular at santouka costs $1 more than kintaro. if you get a combo or a toroniku obviously expect to pay more

in the end $1 more might be worth a nicer atmosphere but slightly less food, if i had to only choose one i wouldn't be able to

shokutsu said... @ March 18, 2010 at 12:19 AM

I enjoyed my tasting of Santouka (Vancouver) for the first time tonight and enjoyed it. Seemed on par with their outlets in Tokyo as well as when I had it in HK.

adwoodw said... @ May 11, 2010 at 3:08 PM

We tried this place about a week ago and were quite impressed. I don't think the noodles are as good as motomatchi or kintaro, as they lack that chewy springyness, but the soup is more rich and creamy. The noodles, however, seem to absorb the flavours of the broth better than than noodles at Kintaro and Motomatchi. Apparently, this is the style of Hokaido based ramen with the creamy style of broth.

Value wise, it's a bit more than the usual suspects, but the eating environment, namely the seating, is better. It's still a bit hot in there temperature wise but not unbearable like Kintaro used to be pre wall A/C. It's also not as well cooled as Motomatchi though.

If you are worried about portion size, you can pay $1 more to get a larger size, which almost equates a Kintaro portion. If you eat like a bird, then you can also order a small and come out $1 richer as well.

I had the large pork jowl toroniku ramen and it was excellent overall. That pig face is sure tasty. I just wished that I could have replaced my noodles with those from Motomatchi and it would have been perfect.

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