No. Just no: Touhenboku Ramen on Denman

Toronto ramen chain Touhenboku Ramen opened up in late August 2016 with 50% off and lineups down the block. Now that they’ve settled down somewhat, how are they? Not that good. Save your time and money.

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The menu, which you can also read online. Their Vancouver menu is a carbon copy of their Toronto menus. Literally, because it says “Toronto” at the top of these Vancouver menus.

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They do a chicken-based broth ramen here but you can also add pork broth for an extra $1.50, plus a few other customizations like tare of either soy sauce, sea salt, or miso (miso is $1.50 extra). I went with a White (Original) Ramen with chicken broth, sea salt, thin noodles, and pork belly chashu.

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The flipside of their menu is in Japanese.

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White Ramen ($10.50). Comes with a whole egg, one slice of sorta thin chashu, green onions, nori (seaweed), and wood ear fungus.

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The noodles were fine. Good texture but really can’t overcome the bland broth. I actually ate this bowl pretty fast in a desperate attempt to see if it improved. It didn’t. The lonely piece of 2mm thick pork belly chashu, while decently moist but not particularly flavourful, didn’t make up for the thick yet bland broth.

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The egg is actually not bad. Some marinated flavour penetrating into the whites, and a gel-like yolk. Huge shame about the broth though. I utterly have no desire to try out their other ramen flavours if their White (Original) is this blanderific. Not interested in gambling away my next $10.50.

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My dining companions Christina (Food: It Is More) and Sean (Sean’s Adventures in Flavor Town) wanted to try some of their appetizers. Korokke (Panko Croquettes) and Karaage (both $5.50 each).

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The croquettes come with a side of Bulldog-type sauce that you also find with tonkatsu. I was very surprised to hear that they don’t actually make these in-house, and that they come from a “supplier”. But given that the shape is very consistent, maybe that’s not so much of a surprise.

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Somewhat dense potato filling with bits of corn. Not fantastic but not terrible. That’s what you get for something that probably arrived frozen.

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Sean has had these flaccid things before, and this time they were marginally more crispy. Still one of the softest, saddest karaages I’ve ever had. It was moist and juicy inside — I’ll give them that. After having eaten two great fried chicken dishes the day before, this was lackluster.

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My dining companions sprung for a Mille Crepe but I abstained.

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Mille Crepe ($5.50). Layers of crepe and whipped cream, with a “delicious fruit glaze” on top. One person hated it and thought it was all mush (which I could imagine). The other person thought it was relatively good, in the same way that McCain’s Deep ‘n Delicious cake can be good at 11:30 at night.

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They also have stamp cards! Eat 10 bowls of ramen, get one free! Good luck with that.

There’s really no more I can say about this place. Nice staff? But if that critical broth sucks so much, it just brings everything else down.

Touhenboku Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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