If you’re a regular reader of this column, we assume you, like us, are lovers of all types of soup noodles, be it pho or laksa, Taiwanese beef noodles or Japanese ramen. The latter is the focus of this week’s new eats, as we highlight the best new ramen bowls around town. From an unctuous beef tsukemen to a two-for-one deal — these ramen bowls will steam up your summer with flavour-packed broths and top-notch ingredients.
Hong Kong’s first Wagyu tsukemen
If it’s good enough for David Beckham, it should be good enough for you, too. The soccer star made waves earlier this year with a video of himself slurping down the Wagyu tsukemen bowl at recently opened Mashi No Mashi, the ramen bar appendage to the uber-luxe, members-only restaurant Wagyumafia. Since then, the crowds have been clamouring to get into this 12-seater on Oi Kwan Road for a taste of the highly lauded bowl.
We popped in for a recent tasting and can confirm that the ramen is worth the hype; it’s also, by default of its star ingredient, one of the most indulgent ramen bowls in town. The signature tsukemen (HK$160) stars 4-hour slow-cooked Ozaki beef, freshly sliced into fat pink rounds at the counter and laid across a mound of chewy alkaline noodles bearing a toothsome bite. The carefully crafted bowl is devoid of superfluous ingredients, completed with a bit of steamed cabbage, a runny soft-boiled egg yolk, seasoned bamboo shoots and squares of nori. A saucer full of broth made from the beef and bones is rich and unctuous; with little nubs of beef fat floating on top, it provides a slick foil for the slippery noodle strands and the beef. While the craftsmanship and premium quality of ingredients are of little debate — only those with a strong stomach will be able to bear the richness of the beef fat. Go hungry, and maybe skip drinking the broth.
Mashi No Mashi, Shop 1B, G/F, Guardian House, 32 Oi Kwan Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2812 0500
“Twin-bowl” ramen at Ramen Cubism
Ramen Cubism might not be your regular ramen spot, but there’s certainly an appetite for the Osaka-born eatery’s unconventional spin on the ubiquitous Japanese noodle bowl — as evidenced by the long queues out the door since the restaurant first debuted in January on Wellington Street. This summer, the ramen bar — from Japan’s ‘celebrity’ ramen champion Hayashi Takao — celebrates its success with a special ‘twin-bowl’ ramen concept served up in a unique figure-eight bowl from a Kyoto-based ceramicist.
Brought over from chef Hayashi’s newly opened ramen shop in Osaka, The Eden Shio is served in both hot and cold styles with the Eden Land (left) representing hot, and the Eden Sea (right) representing cold. Packed with umami, the Eden Land employs a salt-based broth blended from four types of shellfish including scallops, clams, Hokkaido squids and dried scallops, with the addition of artisan sea salt, sake and seaweed. It’s all topped off with a succulent slice of roast pork belly. Meanwhile, the Eden Sea has been created to cool diners in the summer’s stifling heat, with a light broth topped with sashimi, bamboo shoots and salmon roe for a burst of salinity. The ramen is priced at HK$138 (only four servings available every hour), and is best paired with new seasonal sides including Japanese radish pickles, crispy sweet potato balls, and sliced pork belly with miso and scallops.
Ramen Cubism, Basement, Yuen Yick Building, 27-29 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2399 0811
Sea bream ramen at Gogyo
Gogyo at IFC Mall might be best known for its intensely inky black miso ramen, but summer calls for something a little lighter and more seafood-centric to balance out the palate. Stop by the ramen bar at IFC Mall to get a taste of their Taicha Ramen (available through mid-July) made with Yamecha noodles, a type of Gyokuro tea from Fukuoka prized for its sweet aroma and smoothness on the palate. The fine Yamecha noodles are dunked into a light broth infused with the flavours of sea bream and chicken, then made extra indulgent with a slice of slow-cooked char siu and fresh sea bream torched until buttery and tender. After slurping up the ramen, guests are encouraged to spoon some of the marinated sea bream sashimi rice bowl into the broth to make a type of makeshift ochazuke. For HK$198, the set is paired with a side of delicate prawn and scallop tempura with a green tea dipping salt.
Gogyo, Shop 3020, 3/F, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2385 1366