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

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

Say what you will about Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, but I respect the hell out of them because there have been a of couple dominant leaders in Los Angeles that have been around for a while, but regardless of all the new competition, Santouka probably never broke a sweat, that’s because they’re gangsta AF.

Photo Description: Tainan City, Taiwan Santouka Ramen interior. The interior is a posh golden interior which is the color given off by the light colored wood.
The only golden light I want to be showered in, is at Santouka Ramen. Tainan City, Taiwan. Photo by Santouka.

Santouka Does Several Things Right

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.

Photo Description: HOKKAIDO-RAMEN-SANTOUKA.png, 5-bowls of ramen which depict shio, shoyu, miso, kara-miso, and char-siu ramen.
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.
Photo Description: the Santouka Ramen spread of their signature thick sided bowl, a plate separate plate with chashu, kikurage, menma, negi, naruto, and umeboshi. The third topping is the egg.
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.

Photo Description: a close up of the Santouka ramen toppings.
Toro-niku is pork cheek which is the same cut at Italian guanciale.

It Is All in the Details All the Way Down to the Toppings

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.

Photo Description: yuuuuup, and another shot of the toppings.
The umeboshi (pickled plum) served with the tonkotsu shio ramen.

Santouka is the Best at What it Does

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).

Photo Description: a close up of the Santouka noodles. In this pic, you can see the fat congealing on the top layer.
Oh you delicious bowl of goodness… if I only looked at a significant other like I look at you.

I Deserve a Big Spoon

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.

Photo Description: the tiny plastic disposable spoon provided by Santouka ramen.
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 (I suspect idiots as to why we can’t have nice things).

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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