>Ramen is a staple which people in Japan frequently consume. Here in the USA there are plenty of ramen houses but few have conquered what a bowl of hot ramen noodles are supposed to be all about. The most important thing in a bowl of ramen is the broth — it’s that clear and simple. If the broth is good, your bowl of ramen will be good. Sub-par broth means your ramen will be a terribly disgusting experience whereby, you will probably not want to eat it ever again. At Santouka the broth is hearty and often, very good. There are some days when it’s a little off key but, those days aren’t often so you can be sure to be satisfied when you come here. The soup bases are simple: miso, shio (salt) and shoyu (soy sauce). You can also get it spicy which is generally what I choose. Regular bowls come with one big piece of chashu (stewed pork), a little bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and scallions. I always opt for the meat on the side purely because the pork is a lot leaner and you get a lot more for it. Of course you’re paying a little more too, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The stewed egg here isn’t as good as other ramen houses in that it is a hard boiled egg and not a soft gooey-centered egg but I still like an egg with my ramen. For those of you who want something more there are combo meals which includes a bowl of rice with various toppings: natto, fish roe, along with the ramen. At lunch time, the line can be long, so my suggestion is to get there at 11am when they open or go a little later if you want to avoid the rush. Either way, if you enjoy a hearty bowl of soupy yumminess give it a try!
Santouka Ramen at Mitsuwa Marketplace, 665 Paularino Avenue, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Tel: 714-434-1101