Ramen Quest: Chapter 1


Sun Noodle Shoyu Ramen turned into Chashumen (Pork Ramen). Toppings include sliced Chashu; the tan “straw” looking items in the center is Menma (Marinated Bamboo Shoots); Also, 2 Quail eggs, 1 slice of US grade medium egg, Nori (that black item on top) sliced Negi (large Japanese Scallion) and regular green onion for presentation.

This is the first installment in the search for Honolulu’s best Ramen! Growing up, we traveled many times to Japan where we stayed at the Teikoku Hoteru (Imperial Hotel) in Tokyo’s Ginza district. Near the hotel were several Ramen shops that were just amazingly oishii. Most famous was their Chashumen, a pork noodle with the most delicious broth in the world.

Well, Hawaii folks are lucky today with the arrival of Sun Noodle ramen. Now any home cook can easily replicate the authentic flavor of Japanese ramen in their kitchen. Pictured above is a bowl of Chashumen I prepared myself using Sun Noodle Shoyu Ramen. See caption for details of the ingredients.

Note that I also prepared the Chashu, a spin of Chinese Charsiu, myself.

Here’s how to make it:

Chashu (for Chashumen)

1 pork butt or belly
1 cup shoyu
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup sake
1 finger fresh ginger, slivered

Place all ingredients in pot and simmer on medium-low for approximately 1-1/2 hours. Turn off heat and let it steep for another 1/2 hour in the liquid. Remove cooked Charsiu and let cool, then slice into thin pieces to add to Ramen. Add more shoyu and sake if liquid evaporates to low. Save the cooking liquid and add a little to the ramen broth for extra flavor!

Pictured above is how the ramen is packaged. Notice the FRESH, not dried egg-based noodles. The shoyu soup base is in liquid form with an oily film in it. It’s best to heat the packet up in water briefly to loosen the oil.

To make Chashumen, follow the instructions on the ramen packing, then add toppings as listed above. It’s a MUST that you get the Menma (marinated Bamboo shoots). All these ingredients are available at Marukai. You can also try Daiei. Costco and Sam’s Club has the cheapest price on the Ramen. Look in the refrigerator section where the local foods are.


Gyoza is the perfect accompaniment to Ramen. Here I have Ling Ling brand which is sold in bulk size at Costco. Excellent! My favorite dipping sauce for Gyoza is Ponzu, which is a citrus-flavored soy sauce.

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While we’re at it, here’s a bowl of Char Siu Pork Ramen from Gyoza No Ohsho


Char Siu Pork Ramen, $8.50.

The broth was rather mild but well rounded. I would have prefered a little more character to it though. The only disappointment was the lack of Menma, but otherwise it was satisfying and I’d certainly return for more. I was the only patron in there at the time, so naturally the service from the young host and hostess was attentive and friendly. A customer who later came in ordered Gyoza to go, which he testified was “ono”, so I’ll have to order that next time.


Gyoza No Ohsho store front.

Gyoza No Osho is located in King’s Village Shopping Center on Kaiulani Ave, behind the Hyatt Regency Waikiki.


Comments

Ramen Quest: Chapter 1 — 9 Comments

  1. Oishii !! Your ramen looks great ! I love the Sun Noodle brand of noodles … the texture is good, not mushy. I like it cold too …. their chilled version has a great sauce. You’re right, gyoza and ramen go so well together! I miss Dairyu. I used to enjoy their ramen and gyoza. Goma Ichi’s ramen on Keeaumoku St is pretty good too. But I didn’t care for their cold noodles.

    I look forward to your next entry.

  2. Howzit Stupid Haole (hilarious screen name!),

    The website that I got the Chashu recipe from used Pork Belly, which they indeed wrapped in twine. I used boneless Pork Butt that had a good shape to it, so I didn’t wrap it in twine. I just put it whole in the pot with the shoyu, sake, mirin and slivered ginger pieces and steeped it for about an hour and half, turned off the fire and let it sit in the pot of liquid for a half hour more to cool down.

    I usually buy my Ramen ingredients from Marukai on Ward, since I know they have the proper ingredients such as Negi (large Japanese scallions), quail eggs (optional) and Menma. The menma is packaged in a sealed bag in the refrigerator section near the Tskukemono, Daikon and Ume products. I can’t read Japanese, so thank goodness the imported products are required to list ingredients in English. Look at it and make sure it says it has shoyu and sugar. The one I have is called Ajitsuke Menma (a huge bag). That’s the one you want. There’s a few other Menma varieties, but they won’t match with the delicate flavor of ramen as good as the shoyu-sugar marinated type.

    Stay with the Sun Noodle fresh Ramen in the refrigerator section. They’re the best. Either one that suits your taste. I actually tried the Tonkotsu flavor recently and really liked it! I’m still partial to the Shoyu flavor though.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Hey, thanks for all the good info, Pomai! Ah, so the reason for the twine is to keep the shape of the meat while it simmers. Mmm, slivered ginger simmering in shoyu/mirin, can’t go wrong there!

    You’ve inspired me to step up from my usual preparation of dry noodles topped with nothing more exciting than plain green onions, egg, fishcake, leftover meat or frozen shrimp, with a dash of sesame oil. I’m looking forward to making my first first bowl of more authentic ramen with real chashu, menma, and negi. I was looking for Menma at Daiei but could only find the canned kine. Now, when I go back, I know to go look for bags in the refrigerated section. I’ll be looking for the Ajitsuke brand like you use. Thanks again!

    —Stupid Haole (I take that screen name from the guys at work that like to joke about how the upper management are mostly “stupid haoles.” I’m part/mostly haole myself, but I still laugh too :-)

  4. Yoro,

    I did a pictorial demo of making Chashu Pork in a follow-up installment titled “Ramen Quest: Chapter 3″ here…
    http://tastyisland.wordpress.com/2007/08/13/ramen-quest-chapter-3/

    In that demo I used Yamasa brand (a personal favorite of mine), but Kikkoman would work too. I think the regular Aloha brand is a little too mild for the task, but you can try. I’m sure it’ll still be oishii. This is something you can really make your own, like say, adding Shiitake mushrooms, konbu (kombu) and/or dashi no moto to the shoyu-based braising liquid for added flavor. But the basic Chashu recipe I provided in that presentation comes out fantastic, and will grace your next bowl of Nama Ramen beautifully. As good as any ramen-ya I’d say. Don’t forget to add the Menma too! Don Quijote should have it stocked near the Nama Ramen (fresh noodle) products in the refrigerator section. Otherwise you’ll have to get it at Marukai (members only).

    Best of luck on a great Chashumen. Kantan desu!

  5. Paul, that chef is NUTS. What a scam! Yet for some reason I think this $100 Ramen would sell well in Waikiki. Especially as a novelty for Japanese tourists. It would probably also be cheaper in Waikiki compared to Tokyo if you factor in the Dollar to Yen exchange rate. Depending how they price it here.

    Thanks for sharing! I’ll be sure to include that video news story in my next ramen review.

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