Ramen Dreams

I love ramen. So much so, that I’ve sampled nearly every ramen shop on the island. I created my Top 10 List two years ago, and it has remained unchanged even with the recent influx. Ramen is simply a magical bowl of goodness.

My favorite shop is still Menya le Nood (formerly called Menya Musashi) on Pensacola Street. Lucky for me, it’s within walking distance. I always have the Tonkotsu Ramen (pictured above) with an ajitama add-on. The broth is deep and savory. The noodles firm and chewy. The chashu tender and flavorful. めっちゃ うまい!

My Saturday routine (if I’m not headed to Chinatown) is to lunch at Menya le Nood. Parking is kinda bad. But it is not unreasonable to park at Ala Mona Center and walk over. It is totally worth it. Ask for their stamp card. Look for me when the shop opens at 11am.

Happy slurping! Always dreaming of ramen…

Ramen Dreams: My Top 10

I love ramen! What makes it so awesome is the synergy of the broth, the noodles, and the chashu. Such a magical dish. I’ve been searching for my fave bowl of ramen on Oʻahu for the past four years. Hard work, yes. So here are my Top 10 favorite ramen-ya:

10. Goma Tei in Ward Centre has been a long-time favorite. The Tan Tan Ramen is spicy and so, so comforting. One of the first shops to bring “craft” ramen to Hawaiʻi. The curry, the Tatsuta-age Chicken, etc, etc. This shop started it all….

9. Lucky Belly in Chinatown offers up Asian fusion fare and a trendier type of ramen rather than the traditional. The Belly Bowl is flavorful, beefy, porky, and slightly spicy, with hints of miso, ginger, & sesame. Who wouldn’t want a sausage in their ramen?

8. Ramen Manichi, the one on Kona Street (and NOT the one in Shirokiya) is another great shop with long lines. It came at around the same time as Golden Pork Ramen Bar (and that’s why I always confuse the two.) Manichi uses some type of water filtration for their broth. Huh? Either way, tastes really good.

7. Hokkaido Ramen Santouka is located at the entrance of Don Quijote on Kaheka. They have a good Shio Ramen and a good Kara Miso, but the one to get is the Shoyu. Nice broth, chewy noodles, and tasty toppings. Good stuff.

6. Tsujita is a newcomer, located in the Waikiki Yokocho Gourmet Alley in the Waikiki Shopping Plaza. The Yokocho in my opinion, is the best food court in Hawaiʻi. Tsujita’s specialty is their Tsukemen dipping noodles. Mind-blowing, chewy, toothsome noodles….

5. Wagaya is located across the McCully McDonald’s. I would go for the Tsukemen here as well. The broth is deep, flavorful, & complex, and the noodles are curly and have a great texture. They have the best ajitama egg here. They even have beef tongue on the menu!

4. Agu Ramen Bistro (Isenberg location) is next-level, gourmet ramen. It is expensive, but it is amazing. My fave bowl here is the Spicy Kotteri (level #2 spiciness.) The broth has layers upon layers of flavor. This shop also has great small plates (side dishes) from gyoza, to jellyfish, to pig ears.

3. Menya Musashi is on Pensacola Street. To me, this shop has the best broth, the best noodles, and the best chashu (kakuni.) Disclaimer: when they are on their “A-game,” they are by far the best. By far. But, I have found them to be inconsistent. On an “off day,” ooh not so much…

2. Kiwami on Keʻeaumoku was my go-to place for tsukemen. WAS…. It shut down. I was devastated to see the chains on the door. No more Spicy Tsukemen (medium spiciness with noodles served hot) for me.

1. Japanese Ramen Kai was my hands-down fave ramen-ya on Oʻahu. I was traumatized when they closed as well. The owner got homesick and moved back to Japan, taking all of his recipes with him. Their Goma Cha-Shu Tan Tan was amazing. Their signature Miso Cha-Shu Ramen is now a fading memory. Tear.

I know, I know. My top 2 are sentimental. So I would recommend Menya, Agu, and Wagaya. Check out the Waikiki Yokocho if you can. Happy slurping! Always dreaming of ramen….

Ramen Dreams….

Here is an update to my “Ramen Dreams” posts from 2014 and 2015.
I’ve been in search of the best bowl of ramen on O’ahu. For me, it’s the combination of the broth, the noodles, and the chashu that makes it so magical. I think I’ve pretty much sampled all of the best shops on the island:

Paitan Ramen from Tenkaippin.
Paitan Ramen from Tenkaippin.
Miso Cha-Shu Ramen from Ramen Kai.
Miso Cha-Shu Ramen from Ramen Kai.
menchanko-tei kikuzo
Kikuzo Ramen from Menchanko-Tei.
Belly Bowl from Lucky Belly.
Belly Bowl from Lucky Belly.
Spicy Tsukemen from Kiwami.
Spicy Tsukemen from Kiwami.
Spicy Kotteri Tonkotsu Ramen from Agu Ramen Bistro.
Spicy Kotteri Tonkotsu Ramen from Agu Ramen Bistro.
Tan Tan Ramen from Goma Tei.
Tan Tan Ramen from Goma Tei.
kakuni paitan yotteko-ya
Kakuni Paitan Ramen from Yotteko-Ya.
Shoyu Ramen from Hokkaido Ramen Santouka.
Shoyu Ramen from Hokkaido Ramen Santouka.
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen from Ramen Nakamura.
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen from Ramen Nakamura.
Tan Tan Men from Gomaichi.
Beefy Wild from Kamitoku Ramen.
Beefy Wild from Kamitoku Ramen.
Tonkotsu-Shibori from Ramen Manichi.
Tonkotsu-Shibori from Ramen Manichi.
Black Garlic Original from Golden Pork Ton-kotsu Ramen Bar.
Black Garlic Original from Golden Pork Ton-kotsu Ramen Bar.
Tsukemen from Wagaya.
Tsukemen from Wagaya.
Tonkotsu Ramen from Menya Musashi.
IMG_5496
Garlic Miso Ramen from Junpuu.
Ajitama Tsukemen from Tsujita
Ajitama Tsukemen from Tsujita.

The verdict:
My fave bowl of ramen by far was the Miso Cha-Shu Ramen at Japanese Ramen Kai on Kona Street. Unfortunately, the owner got homesick and moved back to Japan.

My 2nd favorite bowl of ramen was the Spicy Tsukemen at Kiwami. I was heartbroken when they closed.

So here are my current faves:

1. Agu Ramen Bistro on Isenberg Street. The Spicy Kotteri Tonkotsu (level 2 spiciness) is so flavorful and satisfying. We are regulars at the more convenient location in the Ward Centre.

2. Menya Musashi is a relatively new shop on Pensacola. Love the Tonkotsu Ramen here. The broth is deep & flavorful, and the noodles are thick & chewy. My current “go-to place.”

3. Wagaya is another newer ramen shop, located in McCully. The Tsukemen is awesome. Their curly noodles have a great texture. Will be back soon for the beef tongue.

4. Hokkaido Ramen Santouka at the entrance of Don Quijote. The Shoyu Ramen is savory and comforting. Part of a large chain, but still so good.

Not done sampling more places and more recommendations.
Always dreaming of ramen….

Ramen Dreams….

Here is an update to my “Ramen Dreams” post from 2014.
I’ve been in search of the best bowl of ramen on O’ahu. For me, it’s the combination of the broth, the noodles, and the chashu that makes it so magical. I think I’ve pretty much sampled all of the best shops on the island:

Paitan Ramen from Tenkaippin.
Paitan Ramen from Tenkaippin.
Miso Cha-Shu Ramen from Ramen Kai.
Miso Cha-Shu Ramen from Ramen Kai.
menchanko-tei kikuzo
Kikuzo Ramen from Menchanko-Tei.
Belly Bowl from Lucky Belly.
Belly Bowl from Lucky Belly.
Spicy Tsukemen from Kiwami.
Spicy Tsukemen from Kiwami.
Spicy Kotteri Tonkotsu Ramen from Agu Ramen Bistro.
Spicy Kotteri Tonkotsu Ramen from Agu Ramen Bistro.
Tan Tan Ramen from Goma Tei.
Tan Tan Ramen from Goma Tei.
kakuni paitan yotteko-ya
Kakuni Paitan Ramen from Yotteko-Ya.
Shoyu Ramen from Hokkaido Ramen Santouka.
Shoyu Ramen from Hokkaido Ramen Santouka.
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen from Ramen Nakamura.
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen from Ramen Nakamura.
Tan Tan Men from Gomaichi.
Beefy Wild from Kamitoku Ramen.
Beefy Wild from Kamitoku Ramen.
Tonkotsu-Shibori from Ramen Manichi.
Tonkotsu-Shibori from Ramen Manichi.
Black Garlic Original from Golden Pork Ton-kotsu Ramen Bar.
Black Garlic Original from Golden Pork Ton-kotsu Ramen Bar.
Tsukemen from Wagaya.
Tsukemen from Wagaya.
Tonkotsu Kakuni Ramen from Menya Musashi.

The verdict:
My fave bowl of ramen by far was at Japanese Ramen Kai on Kona Street. Unfortunately, the owner got homesick and moved back to Japan. So here are my current faves:

1. Agu Ramen Bistro on Isenberg Street. The Spicy Kotteri Tonkotsu (level 2 spiciness) is so flavorful and satisfying. Whenever I’m in the UH area, I always drop by. (Second location at Ward Centre.)

2. Kiwami Ramen on Ke’eaumoku. I am addicted to the Spicy Tsukemen Ramen (medium level spiciness, noodles served hot.) My current “go-to place.”

3. Wagaya is a new ramen shop in McCully. The Tsukemen was awesome. Their curly noodles have a great texture. Will be back soon.

4. Hokkaido Ramen Santouka at the entrance of Don Quijote. The Shoyu Ramen is savory and comforting. Part of a large chain, but still so good.

Not done sampling more places and more recommendations.
Always dreaming of ramen….

Ramen Dreams Part II

Please check out Part I first. Yes, I am in search of the best bowl of ramen on the island. Part I documents all of the places that I’ve tried. And I’ve learned that this has been far from scientific. In fact, it’s really difficult to separate the emotional side of the experience. Here’s my attempt at a conclusion.

Goma Cha-Shu Tan Tan from Ramen Kai.
Goma Cha-Shu Tan Tan from Ramen Kai.
Spicy Kotteri Tonkotsu Ramen from Agu Ramen Bistro.
Spicy Kotteri Tonkotsu Ramen from Agu Ramen Bistro.

Pretty much all of the places that I visited were good. Really good! But the ramen at Japanese Ramen Kai and Agu Ramen Bistro made me say “wow” the loudest.

That being said, I’m going to go with my sentimental favorite, Goma Tei in the Ward Centre. This is our “go-to place” after Wednesday night Bible study. The ramen is very comforting. The flavorful broth, chewy noodles, and savory chashu make for a winning combination. The workers here have become our friends.

Tan Tan Ramen from Goma Tei.
Tan Tan Ramen from Goma Tei.

So yeah. This is it for me. I’ve found the “best” bowl of ramen in my own backyard. Itadakimasu….