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Taiyo Ramen's Charsiu Ramen

Continuing my ramen binge, in search of the “ultimate bowl”, today we shall see if Taiyo Ramen is up to the task. Where here I stuck by my guns and ordered the Shoyu Ramen, where as always, I kick it up by choosing the Charsiu version, which is essentially Shoyu Ramen with more slices of Charsiu in it.

To note, the last time I’ve been to Taiyo Ramen was AGES ago when they were located near the corner of Kapiolani boulevard and Koreamoku street in a typical strip mall (no pun intended), where Nordstrom now calls home. Taiyo Ramen is now located tucked away in the corner of Piikoi and Kona street, nextdoor to Blockbuster and Payless Shoes. In total, according to the owner, Taiyo Ramen has been in business for 17 years, which is very impressive.

As always, first let’s case the joint…

And of course, the menu…

So, as said earlier, unlike my “think outside the box” mentality in ordering the highly touted Kakuni Paitan Ramen at Yotteko-Ya, here at Taiyo I chose the Charsiu Shoyu Ramen, my defining  authentic Japanese Ramen “gauge plate”. Here it is, where I also got the usual ramen accompaniment, Gyoza as side dish…

Taiyo Ramen – Charsiu Ramen & Gyoza

This is now the time to reflect Chef Maezumi’s philosopy, “A bowl of Ramen is a self-contained universe. With life from the sea, the mountains and the earth. All existing in perfect harmony. Harmony is essential. What holds it all together is the broth. The broth gives life to the ramen. Understand? So with that in mind, observe the ramen. Observe the ramen.”

Hai. Let’s first observe the ramen and embrace its elements. Its spirit. Its “tamashii”…

Boat-loads of Charsiu (Chashu), that’s for sure. My only complaint is the Kamaboko (the fish cake pink and white thing), which belongs in Saimin, not Japanese Ramen. At least, that’s my opinion.

OK, let’s taste the broth…

Eh. It’s OK. It actually reminds me of the Paitan broth from Yotteko-Ya, albeit not as “milky” tasting.

Now let’s try the Charsiu (Chashu)…

Very good. This does the ramen justice. It has a good balance of fat and meat, while being tender, with just the right amount of “bite” to it. It’s also seasoned well, screaming with “I’m Chashu!” flavor, and not bland at all like the Chashu I’ve had at another ramen shop I’ll review in a post coming soon.

Now the bean sprouts I had a slight problem with, as it seemed there were as much of that as there were ramen noodles…

Finally with a considerable effort fishing through the broth, I was able to unearth the noodles…

Sure enough, like many other ramen shops in town, Taiyo’s owner told me she sources their noodles from Sun. And with that, it was cooked perfectly al dentem with good firm to the bite.

Summing it up, the broth was just OK, while the Charsiu was excellent. For that, I give Taiyo Ramen’s Charsiu Ramen 2 SPAM Musubi.

Now let’s try the Gyoza…

These Gyoza are a bit larger than the norm, with pronounced folds on the side…

The taste and texture is excellent…

It’s filled with the usual ground pork, cabbage and green onion. The real standout is the thick wonton wrapper, which had a nice golden-brown seared bottom and perfectly al dente entireness, while also having a hint of seasoning to it.

Taiyo Ramen has a ready-to-pour Gyoza dipping sauce at every table in that bottle with the red lid, between the chopsticks and the shoyu…

With that, I find a great way to kick up Chashu even further is by dipping it in the Ponzu style Gyoza sauce…

While most Japanese ramen shops here in Honolulu are owned by Nihongin transplants, Taiyo Ramen is Korean-owned, as is very evident by the complimentary Kim Chee included with every order…

And I must say, this Kim Chee was mighty fine!

Have I found my “heavenly bowl” here with Taiyo Ramen’s Charsiu Ramen? Nope. But it’s not bad. The Gyoza’s a winner,.

Taiyo Ramen
451 Piikoi st.
Suite #105
Honolulu, Hawaii  96814

Tel. (808) 589-2123

Business hours:
Monday – Thursday 10am to 1am
Friday & Saturday 10am to 3am
Sunday 10am to ppm

The Tasty Island rating:

(2) Good. I’m glad I tried it.

Related links:
Taiyo Noodles – Yelp user reviews


19 thoughts on “Taiyo Ramen's Charsiu Ramen

  • May 24, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    That’s a lot of bean sprouts! I think every ramen bowl I’ve had in SD has had a slice of kamaboko, which I enjoy.

  • May 24, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Pomai, for a moment that bowl of ramen look lot like pho from all that meat slices. I like pho also. Everybody like ramen in my household very much and always goes crazy when seeing a nice big bowl of it in your entry.

  • May 24, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Pomai, I heard of Butter Ramen but never try it yet so now have to go there for it. Sound pretty ono to me to head there.

  • May 24, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Pomai, wow Butter Ramen. Not sure it with miso soup and corn too. It in Hokkaido where they serve this often. There recipe for it online which I may do so later. I will check Taiyo out for this Butter Ramen but notice menu it does not have miso soup or corn in it still give it a try.

  • May 24, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Pomai, here’s the dumb question of the day: What’s the difference between ramen and saimin?

    When I was growing up on Oahu (back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth) we always called it “saimin,” as in S&S saimin. We even called those packages of Top Ramen “saimin.” Is there a difference or is it just semantics?

  • May 24, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Pomai, when I was in San Francisco had Miso Corn Butter Ramen at Tampopo Remen Restaurant. It was delish. Now I will look for recipe to make it also at home.

  • May 24, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Pomai, Dairyu at Kapalama serve Miso Corn Butter Ramen. I never had it or got around to order it but now after seeing your bloggers comment got to have it for sure.

  • May 24, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I don’t think Dairyu have miso corn butter ramen it have no corn in it different kind of butter ramen like Taiyo.

  • May 24, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Pomai!
    I truly enjoyed your ramen commentaries! Being a rameniac myself, I suggest you try Ichiben ramen in Waimalu. They also serve paitan, which I find is a lighter version than usual. Their gyoza is excellent, along with the fast and friendly service. To be a true rameniac, lots of slurping and sweat must be involved when consuming.
    You MUST watch Tampopo. I finally bought a copy for myself when Netflix told me I was gonna be on the waiting list for about 3 months.
    One of my other loves is dim sum, I hope you can review that soon!
    Look forward to eating vicariously through you!

  • May 24, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Kasey, arigato for the Tampopo link. That scene was very enlightening. The way I do it is I first observe the bowl.  Then I try and catch its aroma. Then I sip the broth. Then slurp the noodles. Then nibble a small piece from the Chashu. Then a nibble of the menma. I see you can watch many key scenes from Tampopo on YouTube. I’ll check ’em all out later.

    geishagirl, arigato for the Ichiben Ramen suggestion. I’ll be heading out that way this week, and I’ll be sure to stop by there for lunch. Have you seen The Ramen Girl yet? Another really good flick about our favorite noodle soup! The late Brittany Murphy is the lead actress, and she did a fantastic job.

    To all of you finding interest in the Butter Ramen, all I can say to that is I’ll have to return to Taiyo Ramen and try it. Now you have me curious.

    Jenny, I’m so upset right now. I spent about 15 minutes writing an explanation to you on the difference between local style Saimin and Japanese Ramen  in a comment just like this, and I accidentally hit a key that closed my browser window and LOST ALL THAT WORK. My blood is really boiling right now. I’ll answer your question later after I cool down. GRRRRRRR!!!!!!

    In fact, I’ll reply to everyone else I haven’t yet in a comment later. I need to go outside and get some fresh air right now, before I end up smashing my laptop against the wall. GRRRRRR!

  • May 24, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Hey Pomai, have you gone to Tenkaippen yet?

  • May 24, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Li, not yet. But it’s a major target on my Ramen Radar!  I’m a little skeptical on their Kotteri broth though, as that thick viscosity doesn’t sound like something I’ll like. Yet, like Yotteko-Ya, I’m willing to think outside the box and give it a try. If it doesn’t work out, then I’m only obligated to go back and try their Shoyu Ramen! What’s your favorite ramen from Tenkaippen?

  • May 24, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    I make it a point when I eat ramen to always ask them to leave out the bean sprouts. And I always eat shoyu or shio based ramen. Call it old age. Just like my saimin with only char siu and green onions – no egg, kamaboku or whatever.

  • May 24, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    I also found the bean sprout to noodle ratio was a bit high here, but not nearly as much as Ezogiku’s. There is soooo much bean sprouts in Ezogiku’s ramen, they should call it sproutmen!

    I tried the Paitan Charsiu Ramen from Ichiben for the first time and was delightfully pleased. My wife has the Miso Ichimen and now has a new favorite ramen!

    I’ll show you pics later.

  • May 25, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Sorry about the loss, Pomai, but I had that same question that Jenny asked. We always called it saimin, and I never heard the word “ramen” until I went to college, and then, I thought it was what haole mainlanders called saimin. In fact, my sisters and I used to joke about it–“ha, ha, they call it ramen over here!” But now I find out it’s two different things? Wow. I’m very surprised–and intrigued. Anxiously waiting your clarification! Thanks!

  • May 25, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    The Kotteri is my favorite. Actually, that’s the only ramen I’ve ever tried there! The first time I tried it, it was different, a little strange. I must admit it took some getting used to as it is quite thick. Through repeat visits, I’ve come to really like it. It’s a hit or miss kind of ramen. I have two friends that tried it and they didn’t care for it. Maybe they should give it another chance. It’s a ramen that should be tried at least once. Looking forward to see what your take is on it and if you like it.

  • May 26, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I actually like the shoyu ramen from Tenkaippin more than I do the kotteri. I think that their shoyu ramen is one of the best in Hawaii. I can only eat about half the bowl of the kotteri before I get sick of it. Then again, I feel the same way about tan tan men from Goma Tei and Goma Ichi. You should try the Sung Hon men from Goma Ichi. That is a very unique broth (a little spicy, a little sour). Another place to try – Raraya (although their chashu isn’t that great, the half-cooked egg is lovely). Very customizable, being able to adjust soup (saltiness), oil, and noodle (firmness) to your taste.

  • February 19, 2013 at 8:50 am

    I agree that the gyozas are really delicious.


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