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Good Ramen Shops

My friend Robin, whose daughter has taken a liking to ramen, wanted to know which ramen shops to recommend.  Specifically, in the Keeaumoku area if possible.

 

For me, I’m not a big ramen fan – and that’s why I’m throwing it out to you MLCers.

 

But when the need strikes, my go-to place is Taiyo Ramen, located on the corner of Piikoi and Kona St. tucked away in the corner.

Ramen_Taiyo

 

Only problem at Taiyo Ramen is whether to eat the ramen or the kim-chee fried rice!  I hardly ever get passed the kim-chee fried rice.  And da buggah is HOT!

 

Anyone remember the original Taiyo Ramen location?

Ramen_Taiyo_Original
Who remembers where this was located?

 

Ramen is another one of those “We didn’t have growing up” things that I constantly tell my daughters.  We had saimin houses!

 

But I remember when I first started dating Paula, she took me to eat at Dai-ryu Ramen located across Washington Intermediate School, next to Baskin Robbins.  That was my first taste of ramen and since something different than saimin, I enjoyed it.  But not too long later, they shut down.

 

I was excited to see that they reopened a few years ago at Kapalama Shopping Center, but it wasn’t the same.  Not like I remembered it back at the old Washington Intermediate School location.  Different owners.

 

Since then, we’ve tried a few different ramen places: Tai Sei Ramen across the police station on Beretania.  That was pretty good.  And Goma Ichi Ramen on Keeaumoku.  You know how I love my sesame seed oil!  I’d go there again.  I remember going to Goma Tei Ramen in Ala Moana Center once, but I don’t remember how it was.  I may need to go again soon.

 

Lately, Paula has had this thing for tonkotsu ramen.  Not tonkatsu ramen, but tonkotsu ramen.  It has a thicker broth with a pork bone soup base.  There are a couple of places that have it but it’s pretty expensive.  However, if you’re in Las Vegas, check out Monta Ramen.  Not only are their prices good, but they have specials too – like squid-ink ramen.  Paula likes that one.  Me, I’ll stick with the spicy ramen.  Wait, last time I had the spicy ramen, my stomach didn’t like it.

 

You know, I really should give ramen another try.  Maybe I’ve just been ordering the wrong kine.  Shoyu ramen?  Miso ramen? Tonkotsu ramen?

 

What say you when it comes to ramen?

76 Responses to “Good Ramen Shops”

  1. Rodney says:

    Like @KAN does, if you can eat konnyaku instead of noodles, that would be a good thing as konnyaku is a good source of roughage. But then again, maybe the long lasting instant noodles are too. 😛

  2. khs68 says:

    Intestine within an intestine! 😆

  3. Mark Ellis says:

    Thanks for the vid, Rodney.

    In the future I’ll resist grabbing those 20 packages of Ramen for 4 bucks. One look at those slow-to-digest, waxed-out noodles (which resemble an intestine within an intestine, yikes) and I’m done with the instant Ramen quick-fix. Unless I’m absolutely in survivalist mode, like there’s been a nuclear apocalypse or something, and I’m one of the few survivors, assuming there’s potable water, and then only maybe.

  4. dihudfan says:

    @4G… worked late tonite… usually cross the street there between 6:45-7:00… depends on the bus I catch…

  5. 4G says:

    @dihudfan – LOL. Drove past that spot where you saw me Monday night. I should have said, “right on Maunakea.” – not Smith. 😉

  6. 4G says:

    LOL! Good find, @Rod!

  7. khs68 says:

    @Rodney: OMG! And I just bought Sapporo Ichiban Ramen to make fried saimin.

  8. Lowtone123 says:

    I agree with Tai Sei Ramen.

  9. Masako says:

    @4G I’ve done that a few times too.

  10. 4G says:

    Canned chicken broth actually makes a quick, easy and decent dashi for saimin – at least in my opinion.

    I used to do that with Hamura Saimin.

  11. M says:

    I like it when masako makes me ramen and she adds veggies too. 🙂

  12. Masako says:

    If I’m cooking instant ramen, I always boil the noodles first than rinse them out after they are cooked to wash away all the stuff thats no good. I don’t use the dashi that comes with the noodles. I buy kelp dashi from Japan or Marukai to make my soup. Thats how my mom did it too.
    When we were kids we used to eat the raw ramen from the package or even bake the ramen with the dashi sprinkled on it. My kids did that too. They have snacks in Japan that are like that.

  13. 4G says:

    @Mark’75 – “full on wax job” – I like that! 😉

  14. 4G says:

    Raw instant ramen noodles – I remember trying it once. I don’t get the attraction . . . . 😆

  15. 4G says:

    @M – wow, I guess your mom knew, yeah?

    Seems sooo humbug to go through all of that for “instant” ramen. If I was going to do all of that, I would just as soon go with the Sun Noodle saimin. The noodles are better than the “instant” kind. 😉

    I had always thought of instant ramen as part of my “emergency” kit. Dern! LOL. Nah – it will still be part of my kit. 😉

  16. M says:

    @4G, my mom has always drained the water after cooking the noodles. She has told me to do this for years but I still haven’t done it. She doesn’t use the soup base that comes with the ramen. She makes her own. She has even used the ramen to make fried noodles.

  17. Mark'75 says:

    @khs68: Crunching raw ramen noodles. Yikes, with 4G’s information, talk about getting a ‘full-on wax job!!!’

  18. Rodney says:

    @4G – Pancreatitis from instant noodles!?! I didn’t know that. I’m hearing of more and more people dying from Pancreatitis.

  19. Rodney says:

    @Clara – Hi Clara! Welcome to the MLC blog. Thanks for sharing your post. Kai Ramen. I’ll have to give it a try.

  20. Rodney says:

    @Robin DeKine – Thanks for the blog idea! I hope you’re finding new places to try!

  21. M says:

    There’s places in Japan where there’s just one Ramen shop after another (ramen alley). Each shop specialize in their own variety of ramen so you walk around looking at each shop and pick which one you want to try. We went to one in Fukuoka and in Sapporo.

  22. khs68 says:

    I heard the fad with teens is to eat the ramen noodles raw…crunch, crunch.

  23. M says:

    Masako and I went the CUP Noodles museum in Yokohama, Japan. You can see the history of cup noodles and a room with hundreds of different cup noodles world wide since the begining.
    You can even make your own cup noodles with your own ingredients vacumm sealed and all.

  24. 4G says:

    LOL – yeah, no kidding, @Mark’75 😉

  25. Mark'75 says:

    @4G: So much for the “Ramen noodle everynight budget” on that Allstate comercial, huh?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24n2Ao_R-co

  26. 4G says:

    Re: Instant Ramen

    I’ve seen this a couple of times over the last year or so.

    INSTANT RAMEN

    Correct way to cook instant noodles without harming our bodies and health.

    Normally, how we cook the instant noodles is to put the noodles into a pot with water, throw in the powder and let it cook for around 3 minutes and then it’s ready to eat.

    This is the WRONG method of cooking the instant noodles.

    By doing this, when we actually boil the ingredients in the powder, normally with MSG, it will change the molecular structures of the MSG causing it to be toxic.

    The other thing that you may or may not realize is that, the noodles are coated with WAX and it will take around 4 to 5 days for the body to excrete the wax after you have taken the noodles.

    CORRECT METHOD:

    1. Boil the noodles in a pot with water.

    2. Once the noodles is cooked, remove the noodles using a strainer, and set aside. Throw away the water as it contains wax.

    3. Boil another pot of water till boiling and add the noodles into the hot boiling water and then turn off the fire.

    4. Only at this stage when the fire is off, and while the water is very hot, add the ingredient with the powder into the water, to make noodle soup.

    5. However, if you need dry noodles, take out the noodles and add the ingredient with the powder and toss it to get dry noodles.

    A large number of patient ranging in age from 18-24 years are ending up with Pancreatitis** either as a swelling or infection of the pancreas due to regular consumption of instant noodles. If the frequency is more than 3 times a week, then it is very hazardous.

    **Pancreatitis is inflammation or infection of the pancreas. The pancreas, a gland located behind the stomach, releases the hormones insulin and glucagon and substances that help with digestion.

    Sounds like a lot of trouble to go through for “instant” ramen, yeah? LOL.

  27. dihudfan says:

    @4G… will stop you, next time I see you… solo wheel looks very interesting…

  28. dihudfan says:

    egg noodles in gau gee min… not too many places make them any more… used to eat gau gee min every Sunday… that wuz what my working buddy used to order, but no complaints from me… McCully chop suey… tried other places but always ended going to McCully… back in the old days in our shop we would eat instant ramen almost every day… instead of coffee break, we had ramen break… some times aftah we made the ramen, we would get an emergency and had to tend to it… come back and eat soggy noddles that soaked up all the soup base… wuz good, sometimes… anyway… I luv to eat noodles in almost any form…

  29. Masako says:

    I like cake noodles. As far as saimin my favorite is Shiro’s. If making saimin at home I like the old fashion saimin noodles from Costco or Sam’s club.

  30. M says:

    Good morning MLCers!
    I like Char Siu Chow Funn. That’s what I always order when we go for Chinese food.

  31. Seawalker says:

    To me, spaghetti is h@ole noodles. Still good. Sprinkle some cheese on that puppy, then you good to go. Which reminds me, Spaghetti Factory has that funny cheesy smell when you walk inside. It’s not the ‘paaschetti’, but more of the tangy marinara sauce that makes it so delectable. Yum.

  32. 4G says:

    Oodles and oodles of noodles. What is it about noodles? LOL.

    Am I the only one who likes to eat spaghetti out of a bowl with chopsticks? 😆

  33. Seawalker says:

    That’s why I enjoy soup and noodles. It’s sort of like comfort food, especially when you’re away from the 808. The best-est pho I had was in Reno. Was by myself on that trip. But the cr@ps tables was hot that particular trip. Shoots, I was even playing the hard-ways. $20/$50 on the hard-8. It was sitting on deck for a while. Then, someone pops an 8. I look closer. It was a 4 and 4. Score, winner, winner, chicken dinner. Off to the pho joint I saw on the bus ride up from S.F. It was good. Comparable to over here. Had the beef raw and on the side. Added in all the veggies. Threw in the beef. Scarfed that buggah up like no tomorrow. Left a big tip cause it was a real good day and a really good meal. Ono.

  34. Mark Ellis says:

    If there was such a thing as a ramen shop when I lived in Hawaii (63-68) I don’t remember. We don’t have them in Oregon. In fact, ramen noodles (the kind you get at the store for under a dollar a package) have become a metaphor for hard times, as in: “by the end of the month I’m down to Top Ramen.”

  35. Mark Shelby says:

    Does anyone remember Chun Hoon on School Street and Nuuanu? Those were da dayz!

  36. 4G says:

    Oops! Mauka side of Beretania!! 😳

  37. 4G says:

    @dihudfan – oops, busted! Sounds like me. Dark shorts, white t-shirt ….

    Makai side of Beretania, heading ewa, turned right on Smith ….

    😉

  38. dihudfan says:

    @4G… were you riding your solowheel tonite, about 6:30… I wuz crossing the street at Smith and Beretania and I saw one guy riding one going ewa on beretania…

  39. 4G says:

    @dihudfan – oh, and was butter ramen!! 😉

  40. 4G says:

    @khs68 – LOL!

    By the time we were heading back, the sun was going down.

    Not like I really know, but I was figuring that the NY subway was probably not a good place to be after dark . . . . And, not like we was even going that far! Worse case, catch a cab! 😉

    @dihudfan – after (I think) the Ezogiku on Kuhio, it was Ezogiku in Waimalu for me! 😉

  41. khs68 says:

    I lived in NYC 14 years and yep, those MTA workers are the pits with major atti-tude. The subways are the best and fastest way to get around, but they can be confusing especially if you need to go cross-town.

    For the first three years, I always caught a cab or bus to go to work — afraid of the subways. Then finally, I tried it coming home with a friend. We caught the wrong train 10pm at night and ended up at W. 125th street (er..Harlem) — the stop we wanted was W. 72nd street. Aiyah!! And to make matters worst, there was a crazy lady yelling on the platform, “nobody move, I have a gun”. Oh shit! Duck! Subway cops all over the place. Got home finally and had several glasses of wine. Hubby thought it was funny…

  42. dihudfan says:

    ezogiku ramen, waimalu branch… used to go there aftah every UH football game, buttah ramen and gyozas wuz winnahs and the time spent eating wuz enough that the traffic wuz decent going home to town… lot’s of other ramen shops aftah that… but now gomatae… char siu tan tan… my favorite now… savory, a little spicy and ono large serving of tender char siu… drooling already… but still love eatin’ saimin, more…

  43. 4G says:

    😆 “if memory servers . . . ”

    serves

    And, I think my daughter’s question was, more accurately, along the lines of (and with a tinge of irritancy) , “Do you even know what you’re doing???”

    LOL!

  44. M says:

    The best ramen I had was at Tsukiji Fish Market at a food stall. It was a hole in the wall with about six stools at the counter. I was rubbing elbows with the locals seating at the counter. I ordered shrimp tempura ramen and it had 3 of the biggest shrimp I have ever seen and it was so fresh coming right from the fish market. I don’t know what kind of broth it was but it was so good and the ramen noodles was just perfect.

  45. 4G says:

    Okay, this is probably going to be kind of long. 😉

    One of the best ramen experiences that I remember was, of all places, in New York City (Manhattan). This was something like six/seven years ago. Circumstances may have had something to do with it.

    This was a trip with my mom, my dad, my daughter, and my uncle and aunty. I think we had arrived around lunchtime that first day. We had had a couple of days of double-decker bus tours while in DC and the plan was to basically do the same thing in NY.

    My daughter tells me that she REALLY didn’t want to do a couple more days of those bus tours while in NY. Okay . . . . I’m wondering what we’re going to do in place of the bus tour – yeah, like I know what I’m doing, too . . . . LOL.

    I think I was looking to fill something like half a day. I decide on the Statue of Liberty and figure we can also go to the World Trade Center site. The Metro in DC is the bomb! So, I figure the New York subway system must be cool, too, right? LOL – wrong! Talk about confusing! I still have no clue, even after our little adventure.

    We were in the Broadway District. It must have been right after lunch that my daughter and I head out for the Statue of Liberty. I get subway instructions from the hotel concierge. I scribbled some notes. I don’t know if we went to the wrong stop or what, but I went out the nearest door (it was just a few feet away from the concierge desk) and there was a escalator down to a subway stop. We go down the escalator. Check out the subway map – none of the stops seem to match the notes that I had! LOL.

    Go to talk to the attendant (enclosed in a plexiglass booth). She was a large black woman who clearly seemed like she didn’t want to be there. Great . . . . I ask for instructions. She begrudgingly gives me some, sounded like gibberish to me . . . . LOL. She clearly didn’t want to be bothered by my butt, either, so we just tried to figure it out from the maps. In the middle of it all, my daughter asks, “Do you know what you’re doing???” LOL. “No . . . . ” I don’t recall the details of how we decided the route . . . .

    Anyway, we arrive in a surprisingly straightforward manner at Battery Park. We do the Statue of Liberty thing, then visit the World Trade Center site. Time to get back. We’re supposed to meet up with the rest of the group for a show and we’re supposed to get dinner first. LOL.

    Go down to a subway station. Good luck in getting back to the same station next to the hotel that we departed from . . . . LOL. I figured that if I could just get us back to Times Square, we could walk back to the hotel. Fortunately, there is a cop down there who is leaning against a train car and he looks like a Hawaii-local Japanese guy! LOL! Ask him how to get back to Times Square and he tells us we can just catch the train he is leaning against! Luck out . . . .

    My daughter is a late sleeper so I had already been bopping around the hotel and Times Square area on foot. We get off in a location that I recognize and where I remember seeing a ramen shop from my earlier walk. It was BIG – if memory servers, I would say it was like three times the size of the Ala Moana Goma Tei!

    The ramen was REALLY good (sorry, I don’t remember the name! Duh!). Then again, it could have been really good cause we were really tired and hungry after our half-day adventure. Oh, that and the relief of actually making it back, plus in time for dinner and the show! It was a little tight . . . . 😉

  46. keoni says:

    I also prefer saimin over ramen and won ton min best of all.

  47. KAN says:

    The only ramen I can eat any more is the kind from Samurai Noodle (Seattle) – they offer konnyaku noodles instead of the wheat-based ones, so I can still enjoy it.

  48. DancingBear says:

    I miss Washington Saimin.
    I would go there at least once a week.
    Food was good and cheap.

  49. 4G says:

    @khs68 – re: Tampopo. LOL – that is sooo Japanese! 😉

    Ezogiku on Kuhio – ahhh; that rings a bell. That must be where the Ezogiku I remember was . . . .

    LOL. God, I hate getting old! 😉

  50. khs68 says:

    Back in the late 70’s I remember going to the Ezogiku on Kuhio Avenue. Always had shoyu ramen, extra char siu. Not really a big fan of ramen. I prefer saimin or wor gau gee mein.

  51. M says:

    @Seawalker, in Japan you slup, if not you may offend the cook.

  52. Seawalker says:

    At least I don’t slupppppppppppp my ramen like the folks in Japan do. That’s so obnoxious. I don’t finish my soup afterwards to show the cook, ‘look Ma, I finished everything b/c it was so ono’. 😆

  53. 4G says:

    “Ramen Girl” was a pretty good movie . . . . 😉

  54. 4G says:

    I like Tenkaippin Ramen, but I don’t like their parking lot. LOL. I have tried their kotteri, but not the tan tan.

    These days, I find myself Goma Tei the most. Goma Ichi is pretty good, too, but the location is pretty inconvenient. The tan tan ramens at these two places were pretty good.

    The Agu Ramen on Isenberg was pretty good. I even tried their parmesan ramen. Wow – super rich – almost too rich . . . .

    That Dai-Ryu that @Rod mentions, next to Baskin-Robbins – I could have sworn that was an Ezogiku. But, hey, I’m old, what do I know? LOL. I used to like Ezogiku, but the locations they have now are not the most convenient . . . .

  55. M says:

    @sally, you are absolutely right about the ramen in Japan. Every perfecture or area has their own specialty, could be the broth and /or the ramen itself and they are all good. In my opinion there’s no ramen shop here that can compare to Japan’s ramen, just close.

  56. Seawalker says:

    Didn’t Ezogiku have an ‘if you can finish the gigantic bowl of ramen in under some minutes’, you don’t have to pay? My kind of place!

  57. Seawalker says:

    LOL on “was good or maybe it was because my date was hot” Agree with you 100%. That would be eye-candy to see her slurping up the ramen. 😆

  58. Seawalker says:

    Went to school with the Siu brothers of Goma. Need to put on my ‘to go to’ list. Heck, they might even throw in extra char siu or green onions with a last name like ‘Siu’. 😆

  59. mows says:

    We have been going to Ramen-ya and Dai ichii here in Kapolei for ramen. Dai ichii has a good tan tan but I don’t care for the tonkotsu too much. Ramen-ya does not have any special ramens but they have huge portions. Used to go to Ezogiku in Waimalu and Moilili years ago. Even used to go to the one in the picture where Nordstroms is now. Was good or maybe it was because my date was hot. Also would go to Sanoya but haven’t been back there in years.

  60. sally says:

    My understanding is that, in Japan, ramen differs with every locale. I guess it’s like BBQ in America… different tastes in different states and cities.

  61. sally says:

    I’m not a ramen purist so most anywhere would be fine with me. I know people that would only go to the “authentic” (whatever the heck that may be to them LOL) ramen shops.

    I stick to my area so Hokkaido Ramen in Kaimuki and Sumo Ramen in Market City are fine with me.

  62. Seawalker says:

    Absolutely love ramen, pho, and wor gau gee mein. Something about a bowl of soup and noodles that takes me back to the younger days when we would boil several packs of Long-life instant ramen in a pot and eat until our hearts overflowed with happiness.

    I’m all aboard for the soup broth simmered for hours with them bones. That’s the one that if you refrigerate overnight, the soup turns into gelatin. Just like making ox-tail soup. The real flavors come out from the bone and marrow. Yum! I would do ox-tail ramen anytime, anyplace. Think a lot of places in Japan does the same. But I draw the line when standing up to eat in some of those places.

    I like to go to Sonoyas on King St. Not the best, but good enough Not as cheap, but not too expensive either. It was our old stomping grounds after striking out at the nighclubs. Good, good memories.

    Don’t go to have ramen joints too much nowadays. Need to stay away from the starch and sodium. Funny, when we go out to eat, I judge the joint by their bathrooms. My thinking is that if they take time to keep the johns clean and tidy, the same effort goes into the food preparation.

  63. Mark'75 says:

    With all the exotic ramen places that opened up, I still enjoy the old Ezogiku and Hokkaido Ramen places. Just simple I guess…

  64. Mark'75 says:

    I like the paitan ramen at Yotteko-ya, Kyoto Ramen located on the 2nd floor, ewa end, of McCully Shopping Center. Their kakuni ramen, which has a block of charsiu, is very limited. Gotta get there early for that!

  65. Robin DeKine says:

    We like Tai Sei Ramen too. That is the place we will go when we want Ramen. I always forget Goma Ichi Ramen, I think we will try there next time. Glad my daughter is a foodie, because my husband isn’t. I am glad I have an foodie partner.

  66. Gareth says:

    I went to Agu Ramen on Isenberg Street a couple of times; they were very good.

  67. 1oldfut says:

    Third for Tenkaippin. Kotteri and Black Tonkatsu Ramen is oishi. Subtle flavors that are not overpowering. The Kimchi Pork with rice is ono too!

  68. M says:

    Good monring MLCerts!
    I agree with masako, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka and Tennkaippin are close to what you get in Japan. I would like to add Kiwami Ramen on Keeaumoku is good too.

  69. masako says:

    Good morning! I remember the old Taiyo Ramen, it was where Nordstrom’s is now. The owners two sisters came thru the school I work at and they would give me free Kim Chee when I came in. Now I want to try the Kim Chee fried rice.

    One of my favorite Ramen here in Hawaii is Hokkaido Ramen Santouka located at Don Quiote on Kaheka street. That’s how ramen taste is Japan. They use pork cheek for the char sui and although I try not to eat meat, I will eat that when I go there. They have Tonkotsu Ramen but I’m not a fan of that so I haven’t tried it. Whenever we are in the mood for Ramen M will ask me where I want to go and I always want to go to Santouka. The drawback is that there is always a line, but its worth the wait.
    Another favorite is Tenkaippin Ramen owned by my friends Scott and Mayumi Suzui. I order the Tan Tan over there or the cold noodles and I get a order of Gyoza too. I hear that their Kotteri is good but I think it was a little too rich for me. I think they have Tonkotsu too.

  70. Makiki says:

    I have been going to Agu Ramen lately and like their Kotteri Tonkatsu. You can get it spicy as well and I recommend you don’t go past #2 spicy unless you have a pretty good tolerance for heat. Pretty good Gyoza as well.

  71. 4G says:

    Was the original Taiyo part of the block on Kapiolani near where Chicken Alice used to be?

  72. 4G says:

    I say, “Butter Ramen!” 😆

  73. Clara says:

    Kai Ramen on Kona Street is good.

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