RAMEN BŌKEN 4 | Expectations and disillusion…
Living in Paris area, I had the opportunity to go several times to Hakata Choten, the headquarters of tonkotsu ramen. 3 experiences, 2 articles which say almost the same thing: subjugated and conquered. Inevitably, I thought going to Japan would be like going to the Promised Land…
January 2016, 1st tonkotsu ramen of the year (the 01/08 attempt doesn’t count, that’s just a poor masquerade), in Japan, in Tokyo. Although the tonkotsu broth isn’t the specialty of the capital and its area, I was confident, convinced that “anyway, everything is good in Japan”; I had bet all on this bowl of noodles … And what a disappointment!
Let’s cut to the chase! Verdict :
We do we start? The noodles, badly cooked, leaving a doughy sensation on the tongue. I don’t know if this is the style of the house but frankly, I did’t like it.
Let’s continue with the slice of pork, the only one, with a rubbery texture… wh@t the fuk! It’s supposed to melt on your tongue, like a m&ms. Instead, it felt like eating badly cooked squid.
The broth texture made easily drinkable because soft and not too thick ; probably it was mixed with miso or shoyu because the real broth tonkotsu (100% pure pork) is very creamy.
On the other hand, the taste – or rather the after taste – wasn’t pleasant at all. How to describe?
Very good question: for the occasion, I did a little research on taste and flavors, which allowed me to discover the umami but didn’t go beyond that. So I would say it leaves a harsh/sour taste on the tongue.
Very succinct… Very aerated. Of course, for extra 100¥-200¥, you can make your bowl a little more festive.
The price : 680¥. It is reasonable but the quantity is not great. And that’s coming from a person with a bird stomach… a person who can settle for a meal a day, especially lately. Initially, I wanted to order a mini-ramen but I finally chose the standard size. And luckily I was right to do so because I finished it with no problem!! Of course, it was possible to ask for an extra portion of noodles but hey, I was already disapointed anyway.
The staff : not hyper welcoming… You feel an arctic cold when you enter the restaurant. It’s kind of a “oh shit, a gaijin*… well, maybe if we move as little as possible, she won’t notice we’re here…” atmosphere mixed with the natural coldness of Tokyo people. The kind of atmosphere that makes you say “I eat – I bounce, and no gochisousama!” **.
*gaijin: contraction of gaikokujin, which means “foreigner”
**gochisousama: expression said at the end of a meal, to thank the person who made it (or invited us).
In summary, a nice disappointment. When I got out of there, I went to the nearest Mcdonald’s to buy me a cheese-bacon-avocado menu because I don’t know about you, but when I’m not satisfied with my meal, I’m not full. Kind of a psychological hunger.
*RAMEN BŌKEN : ramen adventure…