Business Restaurant

Bow Down to a Ramen Chain That is Greater than You, Hokkaido Ramen, Santouka

Say what you will about Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, but I respect the hell out of them.

I placed my bets some 12 years ago that Boiling Crab in Garden Grove would do well, and Santouka has the same type of DNA to do the same, if they wanted to.

There are couple dominant leaders in Los Angeles that have been around for a while, and regardless of all the new competition, Santouka probably never broke a sweat… that’s because they’re gangsta AF.

Tainan City, Taiwan Santouka Ramen interior
Tainan City, Taiwan. Photo by Santouka.

They do so many things right from their multiple broth offerings which all don’t suck, and they’re almost all equally as good although my favorite is the tonkotsu shio (salt). It’s probably the one I most often order aside from the kara-miso (spicy by Japanese standards, wimps) and the tonkotsu shoyu which is what they offer in most markets to put the smack down on the competition.

Four types of broth flavorings: shio, shoyu, miso, and spicy miso (all are pork based). Along with two types of chashu: regular and toro-niku. Image by Santouka.
Hokkaido style ramen, starting from the top: tamago (egg), negi (green onion), umeboshi (pickled plum), naruto (fish cake), kikurage (wood ear mushroom), menma (bamboo shoots), and toro-niku (special pork cheek chashu).

If that weren’t enough, their toppings kill it because toppings like menma (bamboo shoots) are usually overlooked or trivialized, but theirs is one of the best out there.

Toro-niku is pork cheek which is the same cut at Italian guanciale.

It’s not just the bamboo shoots, but it’s all their toppings as a whole. Toppings that include kikurage (wood ear mushrooms) tamago (egg), naruto (fish cake), or their two types of chashu. The regular “leaner” standard pork chashu is good but my go to is the toro-niku made from pork cheek which is the same cut as Italian guanciale.

Also, my favorite broth is the only one that gets the umeboshi (pickled plum), so if you’re like me, you’d know it’s these subtle touches that should make you bow down to Santouka when they come to your town.

The umeboshi (pickled plum) served with the tonkotsu shio ramen.

Also for a couple of you haters, I know you’re going to be like “this ish isn’t the best.” Yea, and I’m not saying that it is the best ramen ever. I am saying it is the best chain ramen with a sizable product offering that is consistently served up worldwide. For that, they are the closest thing to being the McDonalds of ramen (yea McDonald’s sales are slumping, but it’s a close enough of analogy).


Now about my only gripe which is about the spoons. So many other locations get a big ass spoon, but my spot gets a tiny little plastic disposable spoon. At one time we got the big ones, but that was too good to last because as easy it was to giveth, it was quickly taketh away. That’s just bullsh*t because real g’s (“g” for Greg) who support Santouka, deserve a big spoon.

Yea that’s the tiny little disposable spoon the Costa Mesa, CA location has although they once had a big spoon for a short time.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

West Coast Locations

Torrance, CA
21515 Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501
(Mitsuwa food court)
(310) 212-1101

Costa Mesa, CA
665 Paularino Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(Mitsuwa food court)
(714) 434-1101

Irvine, CA
14230 Culver Drive, Irvine, CA 92604
(Mitsuwa food court)
(949) 733-1101

Santa Monica, CA
3760 Centinera Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066
(Mitsuwa food court)
(310) 391-1101

San Diego, CA
4240 Kearny Mesa Road, San Diego, CA 92111
(Mitsuwa food court)
(858) 974-1101

San Jose, CA
675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129
(Mitsuwa food court)
(408) 446-1101

Honolulu, HI
801 Kaheka Street #A-8, Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
(808) 941-1101

Bellevue, Seattle, WA
103 Bellevue Way, NE, Suite 3, Bellevue, WA 98004
(425) 462-0141

Locations Globally

Japan | US | Canada | Hong Kong | Taiwan | Singapore | Malaysia | Philippines | Thailand



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