RAMEN | 麺屋 一燈 (Menya-Itto)

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Building one of the most successful ventures spinning out from the Taishoken (大勝軒) stable, himself a direct student of Tomita-san (富田 治) of Chuka-soba Tomita (中華蕎麦 とみ田)’s fame, Sakamoto-san (坂本幸彦) has been dominating the ramen scene in Japan for quite a few years now since its establishment back in 2010. Further expanding its empire by going down the franchise route and having conquered Taipei and Bangkok, it has now finally reached the Fragrant Harbour and even managed to acquire a site with probably the best view in the world for a ramen joint, the world famous Hong Kong harbour front skyline. Still vaguely recalled LG’s first encounter back at Shin-Koiwa quite some years back after a close to one-hour queue, the latest rendezvous in town was a surprising uplift to yet another level, despite most self-proclaimed ‘critics’ saying it is still probably just a 70-80% execution vs the real McCoy. Only managed to get the ramen available on our first visit and subsequently completed the experience with the signature Tsukemen on our return, the only practical word to describe the bowl will probably again be ‘balanced’. Contrary to a couple of the usual Tokyo noko gyokai posterchilds which could be over the top at times, the bowl at Itto just made one couldn’t help but keep digging in. One of those best of both worlds scenarios that it is robust yet elegant, with the charshiu being very tender and the minced chicken meat balls a good fit to soak up the wonderful soup. While it was widely reported that they have switched to utilise ramen produced by Tomita-san’s (心の味食品) back home since last October, those in town were said to be produced locally, yet still of a very high standard. As the group also ventured into various other styles from Niboshi to Tonkotsu and even ‘Jiro’, we look forward to trying out the full range being featured as SPs every now and then throughout the year. With only the absent of a proper Ebisoba and maybe a Niboshi one, the Hong Kong ramen scene is finally getting close to being complete, and by far the best outside of Japan.

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