Monday, February 4, 2013


Monday February 4, 4:09 p.m.

Back on Friday, Sam and I got together for lunch and wondered about trying one of those Winterlicious places, but I soon tired of flipping through those pages, and he came up with the idea of hitting Santouka, one of the latest ramen places to sprout up in the GTA. Located just east of the main Yonge-Dundas intersection, it's hard not to spot the restaurant when walking from the west, since there are the rather large words "HOKKAIDO RAMEN"emblazoned in white on the side of the building which Santouka occupies.

Shio Cha-siu
Luckily enough, even though the two of us got there at 12:30, right in the thick of lunch hour, we didn't have to wait too long for a table. There were people waiting ahead of us but we could all fit in the inner air lock, and within five minutes, Sam and I got our table. Winter is the perfect season for ramen, so I went for the shio cha-siu ramen (salt and BBQ pork). The soup was savoury and not too salty....reminded me a lot of that wonderful tonkotsu from Fukuoka, but what made it different was the addition of that pickled plum at the top. I think the other interesting thing was that the bowl was smaller than the one at arguably Toronto's most popular ramen eatery, Kinton, but it was of a size that anyone could handle and be satisfied with. I love Kinton, too, but I sometimes wonder if some customers are a bit overwhelmed by the size of the portions there.

Fried gyoza
I also ordered a mess of gyoza as well...trying to relive old glories when I used to hit the ramen joints in my old neighbourhood of Minami-Gyotoku in Ichikawa, Chiba. And the table had the essential ingredients to make the sauce: soy, chili oil and vinegar. Just mix it all up. The gyoza were OK although I thought the filling seemed to have been made through a machine, but then again, maybe the chef's hands were just very good at making perfect cylinders. I've yet to try the gyoza at Kinton.

Really nice lunch there at Santouka. Next time I go, I'd like to try their pork on rice.

After my friend went back to work, I walked down over to St. Lawrence Market and picked up a few of those Chicken Parmigiana sandwiches at the Carousel Bakery there. I felt I needed to show my parents the wonders of a good hearty sandwich. I had the remaining one for lunch on Saturday, and tell ya's just as good cold as it is warm.

Strangely enough, this morning, I got an e-mail from another old friend asking if we could get together next week for ramen. He's always very busy and usually can't make it out for most things but managed to get some off time next week, so we're juggling either Santouka or Kinton.