558 W Broadway, Vancouver BC V5Z 1E9
I’ve always considered Santouka to be one of the OG ramen joints in Vancouver, and was introduced to it years ago when I had my first venture into ramen-eating outside of the instant packages I grew up with. It’s been a hot few weeks so not the best time to slurp up a bowl of this belly-warming broth however we decided to go for it anyway.
I usually go to the Santouka location on Robson and Bidwell, in the West End of Downtown Vancouver. This time I was going to try the West Broadway location, just at Cambie Street.
We arrived there at 4:30pm expecting a line up but there wasn’t a single person there. We were prompted to order at the door and escorted to a table. Strange to see Santouka without a massive queue out of the door and patrons sitting shoulder-to-shoulder. Another change resulting from the global pandemic. There were about 10 tables in the joint and more people came and sat down throughout our meal.
I’m a creature of habit so ordered my usual kara-miso ramen, my partner went with the classic shio ramen. Both came shortly after we were sat and served glasses of water.
The kara-miso was how I always remember it – very rich, deep flavour with a hit of spice. The noodles are my favourite part – they are on the thinner side and cooked al dente. The cha-shu was quite lean but still had some outline of fat and maintained the porky savoury component.
My partner’s shio ramen was very rich as well, I found it had a slight sweetness to it. Definitely a comfort food item for a cold and rainy day or if you have an upset stomach or feeling under the weather. He slurped up his broth and had some of mine.
The serving size was on the smaller side compared to some of the bigger bowls I’ve had but it was more than enough for me – ramen is always a filling and satiating.
The ramen environment is much different in Vancouver now than it was 10 years ago – there are so many options and so many new places popping up each week. I would still consider Santouka one of the best in the city even with all the competition. If you’re wanting a bowl, definitely check out Santouka to set the bar.
- Kara-Miso Ramen $14.30
- Shio Ramen $13.80
Beats: O.G. Original Gangster – Ice T