I wrote about Hida Takayama in the Robson Public Market more than a year ago. While not outstanding, I was charmed by the man and the ghetto mall where “other malls go to die”. Longing for a taste of classic shoyu ramen, I went there for lunch and was pleased by their improved housemade noodles and generous portions.
On a rainy Friday afternoon around noon, they were semi-busy. I like the relaxed atmosphere and not having to wait in line.
I was craving classic Shoyu ramen. Price went up 75 cents since a bit more than a year ago.
Then I noticed this and remembered that Sean said that they now offer jowl (à la Ramen Santouka), so I thought I’d try it for myself. Love the illustration.
They’re really excited about their Facebook page!!!!
Shoyu Ramen ($8.25) with Ton Toro (Pork Jowl) upgrade for $1.50 more. Aside from the chashu upgrade and missing narutomaki (fish cake), this is what I imagine the ramen tastes like in the movie Tampopo. Seeing this movie in high school ignited a ramen fury inside me that still burns today.
The noodles were firmer and had a much better bite than my previous visits more than a year ago. They automatically give you the large 210g serving of noodles unless you ask for the regular portion. This was quite a bit of noodles for me, and really stretched my stomach 😛 I’ll have to remember to ask for the regular portion next time…especially with the amount of chashu that they give you:
Six slices of Ton Toro (pork jowl) with a couple of miscellaneous pieces included for good measure. If you’re afraid of fat, don’t order this. I love fat, so this was great for me. Fairly tender but still had a meaty chew to it. The thick layer of fat (that pig must’ve had extra-chubby cheeks!) was semi-tender but had a slight crunch to it. By piece number five, I was thinking, “maybe this is unhealthy…” Much fattier than Ramen Santouka’s toroniku but I liked it. Good seasoning on the pork as well. I could taste the balanced soy marinade flavours in the meat and fat.
I like using that sheet of nori like a wrapper for a bundle of noodles. How do you eat the seaweed? The broth is that classic shoyu taste, not the thick, cloudy tonkotsu that currently dominates the scene. Saltiness level is on the higher end of the acceptable range. The menma (bamboo shoots) are crunchy, a bit stinky, and do the job fine.
Hida Takayama is the least pretentious, least hectic, and most relaxed ramen experience in town. Its oddball charm isn’t going to wow everyone but it’s the best ramen value around.
When I left, I noticed that the exit door of Robson Public Market was automated. WHAT SERVICE!! Made me feel like I just ate like a king. Robson Public Market has a certain decrepit charm. 🙂