Yay! I finally got to try out Touhenboku Ramen which is the latest and newest ramen shop in Toronto! 😀 I’ve been eyeing this ramen shop ever since it first opened up last November and a friend had posted its arrival on Facebook. I always want to try out the newest and greatest and when it happens, it’s like a highlight of the week! =)
It’s a small shop on the popular Queen Street West where there are many other restaurants lining the street. It’s right next to Mucho Burrito and in the midst of other Japanese and Indian restaurants. I walked in on a chilly winter afternoon and was warmly greeted by the attentive and friendly staff.
I already knew what I wanted to order: Try a bowl of ramen and also the karaage (fried chicken)! I always love to order karaage if it’s on the menu because I love fried chicken and it’s always an adventure to see how well the restaurant prepares it. So, after sitting down and taking a quick look at the menu, I ordered the combo set for $14 which included any bowl of ramen of your choice plus the karaage. It turns out that my selection is a very popular choice because a red “recommended” icon was next to it on the menu.
Before long, a beautifully designed bowl was brought to my table by one of the friendly servers. She opened the lid of the bowl to reveal a decent-sized portion of karaage. To my surprise, the bottom of the bowl was filled with steamed rice! For a second I thought I had ordered the wrong thing, but it couldn’t have been because when I placed my order, the server confirmed with me about the ramen options I had picked. Anyway, I dug into the karaage and liked how each piece was lightly fried yet seasoned well with green onions and a bit of Japanese mayo. The steamed rice was very soft too and reminded me of steamed rice prepared at home. It was good! I refrained myself from not digging into the bowl too much since I still had a big bowl of ramen waiting for me.
My bowl of Original Touhenboku Ramen was soon brought to me by another one of the very enthusiastic servers with a big smile on her face who thanked me for waiting. (They are so polite here! It reminds me of Japan and how everyone is always nice and polite.) I chose for my bowl of Original Touhenboku to be flavoured with soya sauce (instead of sea salt) and for it to contain pork belly (instead of chicken or pork shoulder). I tried the soup and I liked it! The creamy chicken soup was warm and infused strongly with the soy sauce. I could definitely taste it due to the saltiness.
Overall, I really liked the texture of the ramen, the abundant green onions, smooth kikurage mushrooms, and the piece of crispy seaweed that hung to the side of the bowl. The two pieces of pork belly were uber fatty! However, they were yummy. The perfectly boiled half egg was delicious. The portion of ramen was perfect for one person and I finished it rather quickly (I didn’t want to let any of it get cold). In the end, I did finish my bowl of karaage and rice too.
Again, I really liked the ramen. The only thing is that because the pork belly was a bit fatty, I noticed that its fat did seep into the rest of the soup. In this case, be careful if you plan on drinking all of the soup since you’d be drinking the pork fat as well! (When I was finishing up the karaage, the remaining soup was left standing to the side. Out of curiosity, I “waved” the pair of skinny chopsticks through the soup, and a film of condensed oil had coagulated on top! Just be aware of this 🙂 ).