HOKKAIDO RAMEN SANTOUKA,
Lot 6,24.03, Level 6,
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur,
168, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2143 8878
Business hours: 11.00am-10.00pm
RAMEN is not just another bowl of noodles as seen in the newly-opened Hokkaido Ramen Santoukaat Tokyo Street in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.
Outlet director Julian Yap said the franchise founder and owner Hitoshi Hatanaka developed recipes for its much sought-after ramen broths.
“The Shio Ramen is literally translated to salt ramen but flavours are more complex than just being salty. It has a refreshing flavour that one can never get bored of relishing,” he said, adding that the dish was topped off with char-siu, bamboo shoots and Japanese pickled plum.
Yap added that a batch of soup usually takes about 20 hours to prepare and effort is put in to maintain the soup at an optimal temperature.
Santouka offers four types of soups — Shoyu (soy sauce), Miso, Kara Miso (spicy miso) and their signature Shio while the ramen is available in small and regular sizes.
Yap recalled bringing the brand to Malaysia was no easy feat and up until two days before the restaurant’s special preview session, they were still working at perfecting the soups to match the Japanese standards.
“I first tasted this ramen while on holiday in Japan in 2009. It was so different than what I normally had, I returned to savour it two days in a row while still in Shinjuku,” he said.
Last year, he had seen photos of the same brand in Singapore. A trip down south confirmed that it was the same ramen he had in Japan.
“Coinciding with Pavilion’s plan to have a Japanese-inspired concept area, I took the opportunity to meet up with the franchise’s Singaporean team,” he said.
Yap had three meetings before the brand’s executive director from Japan was invited to Malaysia to check out the proposed location in Pavilion.
“After that, I met the chairman in Japan who was very hospitable and expressed keenness in opening a branch in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.
About three or four months later, Hatanaka came to KL to test the quality of the soup before giving the official green light for the shop’s opening.
Apart from ramen, the restaurant that has Hokkaido patterns incorporated into many aspects of its design, has a signature dish — Tokusen Toroniku — that is limited in quantity.
“It has pork cheek which is a rare part of the animal. You can only get about 300g from each animal. It is very tender and is likened to the fatty tuna,” Yap said, adding that all the dishes on the menu was created by Hatanaka.
Hatanaka has also hinted to Yap that he may create a special dish unique to Malaysia.
A selection of rice bowls, side dishes, salads and ramen sets are also available.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.