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Ramen Quest: Chapter 2

Sun Noodle Tonkotsu Ramen

As you may have read in chapter 1, I’m quite fond of Hawaii’s own Sun Noodle brand packaged fresh ramen – specifically the Shoyu flavor. Well there are 4 other varieties from them that I’ll gradually get to, including Shio (clear, salty broth), Miso (fermented Soy Bean Paste broth), Cold (sort of like a Somen Salad) and continuing here now with Tonkotsu Ramen.

As you can see above, The Tonkotsu, like all the other varieties are packaged the same way. A liquid soup broth and two servings of fresh ramen noodles individually packaged on a disposable plastic tray (included mainly for packaging purposes). You simply cook it then add the condiments of your choice.

With this style of fresh ramen, you add the liquid soup base straight into the serving bowl and pour about 2 cups of boiling hot water in with base to make the broth. Because the soup base often has some (cold) congealed oil in it, it’s best to “melt it” by putting the sealed packet in the boiling water for short time, then open and pour it into the bowl. You then boil the noodles in it’s own water until cooked tender, usually under 3 minutes, drain water thoroughly then add to the bowl of broth. Unlike dry ramen where the powdered soup base is usually put into the same pot of water that you boil the noodles in. After that, simply add your favorite toppings.

As you can see above, the Shoyu broth is dark brown, but still clear. The Tonkotsu broth has a significantly “cloudy” light tan appearance. The intensity of broth flavor between the two ar about the same, primarily in it’s salt/shoyu content. While I taste some shoyu flavor in the Tonkotsu, it’s more of a pork-based “meaty” flavor. Both broths have an oily film floating around, adding a nice slick “slip” to the noodles as you slurp them up.

I still prefer the Shoyu flavor since it’s a bit more “neutral”, allowing the Chashu, Menma and other condiments’ flavors to play a supportive role in the sum of its parts. The Tonkotsu broth is indeed delicious, although a bit more dominant, making all the condiments and noodles taste like one homogenous “soup”. Still, I also really liked this Tonkotsu flavor and will buy it again as a variety option.

Sun Noodle Tonkotsu Ramen

Tasty Island Rating:

Note on a few toppings…

Someone commented, asking where and how the Menma is packaged. Well the answer’s here…

Yamachan Brand Menma (Marinated Bamboo Shoots)

Don Quijote has these conveniently located on the top shelf in the same refrigerator case with the fresh packaged ramen selections. In my opinion, Ramen just isn’t Ramen without this. There’s several varieties of Menma, but this particular one is the one you want. It’s marinade is shoyu and sugar-based, and it almost has a mushroom-like meaty flavor and texture to it, complimenting the slippery, almost egg-flavored starchy noodles beautifully. It costs about $3 for this package, which could probably make you 3-5 bowls of ramen, depending how much you use. You can also get a HUGE bulk size package called Ajitsuke Menma for about $9 at Marukai (for the SERIOUS Ramen lover!).

Green Onion (left) and Negi (large Japanese scallion, right)

Pictured above is a size comparison of a typical bunch of green onions to the much larger Negi on the right. The flavor of Negi is pretty much the same. The thick white base stock is the part used most often, sliced into very thin slivers for ramen. This base stock had about a 5/8″ diameter, but there were some in the store that were over an inch. That’s huge!


6 thoughts on “Ramen Quest: Chapter 2

  • October 27, 2006 at 4:02 am

    Great article, Pomai. Do you know if that brand is available on the mainland?

    – Chubbypanda

  • October 27, 2006 at 10:35 pm

    C. Panda,

    I spoke with the secretary at Sun Noodle directly by phone and she gave me the contact info for their distributors in California as followed:

    Nishimoto Trading

    Hosoda Brothers

    Hope you can find some. It’s truly the closest thing you’ll find to really good authentic Japanese Ramen in a grocery store.

    Also, she told me the owners of Sun Noodle visited this blog site (they’re regulars here!) and read the reviews I posted about their product, which they’re very pleased. They should. It’s a great product. Keep up the good work!

  • October 29, 2006 at 6:23 am

    i really enjoy these sun noodle varieties. i too like the shoyu one. i also like the one for chilled noodle salad…really good.

    the farmers market used to carry the negi …i haven’t seen it for awhile now.

    btw pomai …i like your new format! plus the print is bigger now when we leave our comments!! yahoo for this senior eye….haha!

  • October 29, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    Marukai in Ward Farmer’s Market stocks Negi. So does the new Don Quijote. $5.99/lb. at both places. Seems expensive, but this single stock only costed about 70 cents, so not too bad.

    Thanks for the compliment on the new template. it’s much cleaner and easier to read.

  • April 30, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    I ate a garlic noodle with chicken dish at a local flea market in Maui. It was wonderful and they told me I could buy the garlic noodles from Sun Noodles. I got the impression I could do this online but I can’t seem to find a way to do this. I live in Minnesota so I’m sure online is my only option. Can anyone help me?


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