Our Top 5: Ramen

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SONY DSCBy Brandon Suyeoka
Special to Nonstop

I recently was asked to contribute a guest blog post for Nonstop’s Our Top 5 series. Without hesitation, I jumped at the chance since they wanted my opinion on ramen. Let me just start by saying I love ramen. If I could eat it a few times a week, which I normally do, I would. Whether it’s perfecting my own version at home, whipping up a quick Sun Noodle meal or going out for a bowl, ramen always seems to be my perennial go-to dish.

Here in Hawaii, we’re fortunate to have so many ramen shops open in the last few months. For a while, there weren’t many choices. You had to venture outside the state to get a diverse variety. Now, we have everything from miso, shio, tonkotsu and shoyu-based ramen, all in town.

My criteria for selecting my top 5 were simple. First, I consider the depth of flavor and temperature of the broth. Then, I check the noodles to see if they’re cooked correctly and if they’re a good match for the broth. Finally, I taste the accompanying toppings and garnishes. If it comes with char siu, does the meat melt in my mouth? Does the broth feel balanced with their choice of vegetables? Hitting a home run in each area — broth, noodles and toppings — makes the bowl of ramen stand out for me.

Here’s my list:

No. 5: Gomaichi Ramen

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I've been coming to Gomaichi for a number years, and they consistently make some of the best bowls of ramen in town. Most people indulge in their tan tan ramen, a Chinese-style soup base made of sesame and a hot chili base. But I love the Sung Hon-men, which has a hot sour soup base. As far as I know, they're only ramen shop on the island to serve this broth.

Gomaichi Ramen
631 Keeaumoku St.

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Kiwami Ramen was a total turn off for me.  Maybe they had an off day.  Hokkaido Ramen Santouka however has very consistent noodles.  Good choices you visited.