Friday, November 14, 2008

Yotteko-Ya Kyoto Ramen

After a long day of work and class, there's nothing better than a nice soothing bowl of ramen. Since I didn't get out of class until after 8:00pm, we decided to go somewhere that was open late. Yotteko-Ya Kyoto Ramen was just the place, open till 11:00pm, Monday - Saturday. When we arrived, we were quickly seated at one of two tables that were empty and cleaned off. It seems as though they don't clear off their tables until they're needed, leaving many of tables covered with empty bowls and plates the entire time we were there.

Yotteko-Ya's menu offers different types of ramen, rice and a variety of sides orders, including Gyoza, Kara-age (fried chicken), Ebi Mayonnaise (Shrimp in a sweet mayonnaise sauce). They even have mini sundays for dessert. Unfortunately, like everywhere else, the prices here have gone up. And while they offer a variety of Combo Sets, they're pretty pricey, ranging from $10.45 - $17.45.

On the front of their menu they describe their soup:
"Our homemade soup is simmered for over 10 hours with the choicest pork, the freshest chickens and 10 different vegetables and spices. This meticulous process produces a uniquely thick collagen rich stock that will actually help prevent aging of skin and joints. So please enjoy our soup to the last drop and look younger!"

Yotteko-ya has three different soup bases to choose from: Shoyu Base, Tonshiro (Hawaiian Salt) and the "#1 Recommended Soup Base" Paitan. My friend and I both chose the Paitan "a richer thicker pork based broth which has creamier texture." Along with the type of base, you also get to choose how your noodles are boiled: Japanese Style (traditional firmer noodles) or Local Style (softer noodles). We both had our noodles Japaneses Style.

I had the Yasai (vegetable) Paitan Ramen ($8.95) which was topped with a slice of chashu (charsui), some kind of root, cabbage, onions, sesame seeds and a piece of broccoli. I'm not sure if the broth made me look any younger, but boy was it tasty and unlike anything else I've tasted. Not quite a tonkotsu base or a chicken base but of lovely mixture of both. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My friend had the Chashu Paitan($8.95) which came with 5 pieces of charsui. For an additional $1, he had Yotteko-Ya's homemade red pepper and sesame oil mixture added. Many ramenya's have this type of spicy pepper paste on their tables with the shoyu, gyoza sauce, etc. for free, so i was a bit skeptical about paying an extra dollar for it, but boy was it worth it. The spicy mixture gave a mega spicy boost to the broth which I had to consume slowly, due to the heat.

While Yotteko-Ya's prices are little higher than most ramenyas, the uniqueness of the broth will definitely persuade me to visit again.

Yotteko-Ya Kyoto Ramen
McCully Shopping Center

1960 Kapiolani Blvd, #214
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826

Parking: McCully Shopping Center Parking Lot
Payment: Cash & Credit/Debt Cards
Alcohol: Beer ($2.95- 3.95)
Not So Typical Option: Paitan Soup Base
Lunch: Monday - Sunday, 11am - 2pm
Dinner: Monday - Saturday, 5pm - 11pm
Sunday/holidays, 5pm - 9pm
Wednesday - CLOSED


On a side note not at all ramen-related, we decided to swing by 7-eleven after dinner to get a Red Bull and I was shocked at what they were selling: SPAM LOVERS Musubi. Its like half a can of spam, almost more spam than rice!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mikazuki Noodle Shop - Shirokiya, Ala Moana Center

Since I haven't had ramen in more than a week and I was going to Ala Moana to get my nails done anyway, I decided to try Mikazuki Noodle Shop in Shirokiya. With all the yummy food at Shirokiya, its difficult not to get distracted by other tasty treats as you make your way to the noodle shop located by the buffet area of the store. The shop offers a variety of ramen and udon choices and accepts credit/debit cards which is an added bonus. We ordered our ramen at the noodle stand and then got into the buffet line to pay and get drinks. By the time we finished paying, our noodles were ready to be picked up. Luckily, we were eating at 3pm and found a seat right away. However, if you come at a normal meal time, be prepared to wait a while and be ready to run for a table as soon as someone shows signs of leaving.

A little on the hungry side, I didn't take time to study the menu and just ordered the Tokyo Shoyu Ramen ($5.95). It was actually the boiled egg in the picture of the shoyu ramen that got me.

The simple shoyu base was mild and overpowed by the menma. I got to a point where I decided to take all the memna out of the bowl because it was too much. The boiled egg was just plain and unseasoned and the noodles were thin and a little too mushy for my liking. After I order, I saw that they also offered a selection of mini-sized ramen, but I'm glad that I ordered the regular size which seemed a bit mini itself. Best part of the ramen was the charsiu which was sooo tender and moist.

Eric order the kimchee ramen ($7.45) and added wakame. His bowl had a serving of kimchee right on top which added some extra spice and crunch. The broth was very similar to my shoyu broth, with kimchee on top and also some added dried chilli pepper that came with our ramen.

For being "fast food" ramen, Mikazuki Noodle Shop was decent with reasonable prices, but I'd probably not fight to get a table to eat here.

Mikazuki Noodles Shop
Shirokiya - Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., #2250
Honolulu, HI 96814

Parking: Ala Moana Parking
Payment: Cash & Debit/Credit Card
Alcohol: None

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dairyu Ramen & Curry

I discovered Dairyu Ramen & Curry on one of my excursions to Palama Supermarket. Having heard of a Dairyu Ramen shop that used to be on King Street a while back, I was curious to see if this new ramenya that opened in October 2008 had some kind of connection with the old Dairyu.

When we walked into Dairyu, a waitress quickly greeted and seated us. The menu was huge, with a large selections of ramen, curry combinations, udon, friend noodles, cold noodles and Ramen combination sets (the whole menu can be viewed at their website). I needed a little more time then usual to navigate the large menu. Seeing that I needed a little help making a decision, the waitress came over and gave me some suggestions. Since we were the only customers in the restaurant, I took the opportunity to ask about the shop. The waitress informed us that the owner of this Dairyu, who is currently retired in Japan, was also the owner of the Dairyu on King Street.

I may have been a bit overwhelmed by the huge menu, but in the end, Isteered clear of being adventurous and order the Ramen Combination #1 ($6.75) which came with a bowl of ramen (shoyu, miso, shio, or butter) and fried rice.

The ramen tasted like a typical mild shoyu ramen, however at the suggestion of the waitress, I added in the house special Hot oil paste and boy was that yummy. A bit of sesame and hot pepper paste gave the ramen a excellent kick and added flavor.

The fried rice on the other hand needed no additions and was full of flavor. The serving size was also very generous.

With all combination sets, you can add 4 gyoza for just $1, a deal too good to pass up. Fried to perfection, they were well worth my dollar. As usual my eyes were bigger than my stomach and i ended up taking home half of my fried rice and two pieces of gyoza.

My friend also had more than enough food in his Udon Combination ($7.25) that came with a bowl of udon, a bowl of rice and chicken katsu, and a dish of kimchee. The udon had a shoyu base with a hint of sweetness. The katsu was juicy on the inside and very crunchy one the outside. And the kimchee was a nice addition to the meal.

While Dairyu Ramen & Curry is little out of the way, its huge menu and great prices make it a great stop before or after a trip to Palama supermarket.

Dairyu Ramen & Curry
Kapalama Shopping Center
1210 Dillingham Blvd # 14, Honolulu, HI 96814

Parking: Kapalama Shopping Center Parking Lot
Payment: Cash Only
Alcohol: None
Not So Typical Options: HUGE Menu
Hours: Open Daily, 11 am - 9pm