Hokkaido Day 4: Ramen Alley in Sapporo

Again, using Google technology (and why not? Japan’s cities is one of Google’s most mapped-out places on earth!), you’ll find the Ramen Alley (ラーメン横丁) if you right click the arrow (right arrow) 5 times.

You’ll see a nightclub called “Club Taliswomen” (lol, I like how they just turned “Talisman” into “Taliswoman” which makes no sense), and the famous Ramen Alley is on its immediate left. Yes, the area is known for its nightclubs … there are literally, hundreds of them around. By the way, gentlemen, I’m sure the “Ramen Alley” excuse has been used numerous times … you might want to use something a little more creative … “Honey, I’m going to grab some ramen with some buddies tonight, … sorry its an all guys thing … don’t wait up tonight” just ain’t going to work!

Anyway, the place where we had our ramen was located right in the center of the alley on the left (if you are entering from the Club Taliswomen side).

The Ramen Alley in Sapporo

The Ramen Alley in Sapporo

I forgot which one it was …

¥800 Authentic Japanese Ramen? Deal!

¥800 Authentic Japanese Ramen? Deal!

I suppose 800円 isn’t exactly cheap for a bowl of ramen, but given the size and quality of the ramen, it was pretty good value. This meal also turned out to be one of the cheapest of the trip, but its definitely up there as one of the most memorable.

If you look closely at the menu, you’ll see something that says “四代目店主” … that means the ramen noodle joint has been operating for 4 generations now, and this chef (pictured below) is the latest bloke to run the family ramen business. Let’s all hope he has a child to continue the legacy.

Yes, the 4th Generation Chef is Frying our Ramen Soup-base and Stuff

Yes, the 4th Generation Chef is Frying our Ramen Soup-base and Stuff

Here, the 4th gen chef is seen putting garlic, spring onion, onion and some secret ingredients into the wok and frying it before adding the soup base.

The Best Damn Bowl of Ramen, I Have Ever Had ... So Far ...

The Best Damn Bowl of Ramen, I Have Ever Had ... So Far ...

The result? The best ramen I’ve had. The ramen noodle itself is also home-made. Its fresh, chewy and soft (but not too soft). It taste and feels as if it had absorbed a little bit of the soup on its outer layer. Yep … I’m that good with food now.

The soup-base which is pretty much just oil anyway … its really hot (also from the oil) and flavourful. Definitely garlicky, a bit soy-saucy (like I said, its thick!) and somewhere in there, I can almost taste sesame, corn and carrot.

Well, that’s the stuff that you can’t really see in the photo … but what you can see, the half-sliced egg, and the not-so-generous slice of pork was like a 3-point from the half-way line that sealed the game. The egg was boiled to a point where if you slice it in halves, the yolk is a little runny still … and that’s how you know its a good ramen egg 🙂 We used this egg-method to gauge the quality of the ramen joints in the alley.

The pork was also very well … porky. It wasn’t dry and it wasn’t cold … but that might be because it was sitting in a boiling bowl of noodle for so long. The only downside to the pork is, there’s too little meat (and too much fat!).

Gyoza

Gyoza

The gyoza was only so-so though … nothing to write home about.

Will I be back? No doubt. But then there are another 19 (assuming there are 20 ramen restaurants in the Alley) to try out … what to do?!

Ramen Alley in Sapporo
Somewhere in Sapporo (Check above Google Map)

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Haiku by Hatsune

I met up with some friends for dinner at Haiku, one of my favorite Japanese restaurant in Shanghai (aside from Nadaman of course, but that … is too pricey, lol). We had a big group and since I was in charge of ordering, and I really couldn’t be bothered with getting everyone’s approval on what I order, I decided to get everything in the Sushi Roll section with a star (Chef’s Recommendation) next to the item, followed by some cooked dishes. Check it out!

Haiku Salad

Haiku Salad

Rolls 1 & 2

Haiku Chefs Recommendation: Rolls 1 & 2

Roll 3

Haiku Chefs Recommendation: Roll 3

Roll 4

Haiku Chefs Recommendation: Roll 4

Roll 5

Haiku Chefs Recommendation: Roll 5

Roll 6

Haiku Chefs Recommendation: Roll 6

Roll 7

Haiku Chefs Recommendation: Roll 7

Roll 8

Haiku Chefs Recommendation: Roll 8

Roll 9

Haiku Chefs Recommendation: Roll 9

Tempura at Haiku

Tempura at Haiku

Fried Chicken at Haiku

Fried Chicken at Haiku

Grilled Beef at Haiku

Grilled Beef at Haiku

Fatty Pork at Haiku

Fatty Pork at Haiku

For the grilled beef, Haiku actually give you a small grill so you can place the raw beef on top to cook yourself. We had the server do the job for us this time … so I can’t show you the stone grill. Anyway, its definitely worth a visit 🙂

Oh right … we had more food than this, there 8-9 of us and we paid a little less than RMB 200 each. Hmm … reasonable I think.

Haiku by Hatsune
28B Tai Jiang Road (near Hengshan Road)
Shanghai, China

The group also has several other “sister” restaurants around town. They are:

Hatsune
Guang Hua Dong Lu, He Qiao Building, Block C
Tel: +86 21 6581 3939

Kagen Teppanyaki
28D Tao Jiang Road (near Hengshan Road)
Tel: +86 21 6433 3232

Sushi Inc.
2/F., Citigroup Tower, Lujiazui
Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 21 5877 6551

Yakitoritei (燒鳥亭)

Arguably one of the first pure yakitori restaurants in Hong Kong, Yakitoritei’s Happy Valley branch set a pretty high bar for followers popping up everywhere in Hong Kong soon after its opening in 2003.

In a previous post, I’ve mentioned Magushi on Peel Street, a new yakitori restaurant which found its niche through offering a wide selection of sake (rice wine) and innovative yakitoris. Yakitoritei, on the other hand, took a safer approach, offering a very solid selection of traditional yakitoris; you won’t find some fancy beef rolled into balls marinated with stuff you’ve never heard of before. Rather, you’ll find the usual beef, chicken, lamb, etc. in their “original” form.

Anyway, my buddies and I wanted siu yeh and so we decided to visit Yakitoritei’s Tin Hau branch the other night because they have a Late Night Special Menu (available from Mondays to Sundays from 23:00 to 02:30, except eve of special holidays and special holidays). The deal is HKD 10 per skewer of a la carte yakitori, but at least 2 skewers per item.

Don’t expect to find lamb racks for HKD 10 though, the “a la carte” menu serves a reasonable, but small list of items to choose from; if you still want lamb racks, that’ll still set you back HKD 30-40 per piece!

Even with a supposedly good deal, the bill ended up to be about HKD 150 per head with drinks (in our case, a bottle of Asahi Beer each). Definitely not cheap especially if you are going during regular hours, but frankly, Yakitoritei is quite the setting to be chit-chatting with your buddies over beer and some great beer food.

Yakitoritei (燒鳥亭) Tin Hau
G/F., 10 Tsing Fung Street
Tin Hau, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2566 9982

Yakitoritei (燒鳥亭) Happy Valley
Shop C, G/F., 49-51A, Sing Woo Road
Happy Valley, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2838 5377

Wa San Mai Teppanyaki (和三味鐵板燒)

If Matsubishi (松菱日本料理) at the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel is the most well-known teppanyaki restaurant in town, then Wa San Mai (和三味) comes a close second, with an equally impressive history of serving top-quality teppanyaki to the citizens of Hong Kong.

Wa San Mai has been operating for well over 20 years before the original owner decided to retire and sold the restaurant to Joseph Lau Luen Hung, a property tycoon in Hong Kong who also happens (not coincidentally) to own the building the restaurant is situated. Apparently, the tycoon has been such a big fan of the restaurant, that upon hearing the original owner wanted to sell the business, he bought it without much thought and completely revamped the entire restaurant.

That was two years ago. Today, the decor is as good as new and the renovation / decor is as relevant now as it was two years ago. Its very clean and unlike most other smoke-filled teppanyaki restaurants, this joint is surprisingly smoke-free!

I went today for the second time, which only confirms that I was right the first time: they food is delicious. I go during lunch because its cheaper, much cheaper. Then again, portion during lunch time is also smaller.

My favorite is the foie gras and beef set, which comes with the standard salad, pickles, miso soup as starters, followed by ice-cream and tea/coffee as dessert.

As for their beef, you can choose between US Beef, Australian Kobe Beef and Saga Beef (in increasingly order of quality, and of course, price). If foie gras and / or beef is not your thing, then perhaps you might want to consider the seafood set of the abolone set.

As always, once the food is on my plate, I would dig in right away, which explains why I don’t have a whole lot of photos to show for; I promise, next time, I’ll remember!

Wa San Mai Teppanyaki (和三味日本料理)
22/F., East Point Centre, 555 Hennessy Road
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2831 8989
Fax: +852 2831 8983

Magushi on Peel Street

Yakitori restaurants have been around for a very long time, but they continue to pop up in drove. Just recently, another one called Magushi opened on Peel Street in Soho so I thought I’d try it with my brother. Its about a 5 minute walk so I had greeted the folks at the restaurant in my semi PJ’s (街坊裝) … I couldn’t care less about my appearance, I was there for the food! FEED ME!

Let’s get right down to business. We got the ox tongue, chicken wings, meatballs made from lamb, beefballs, and Angus beef yakitoris. They were all very good, but if I can choose again, I’d get all ox tongue and chicken wings yakitoris! They were great 🙂

Apparently the restaurant was established by a group of 8 (or so) friends who share similar passion in sake (Japanese rice wine), which explains why they have such an extensive list of sakes to choose from ranging anywhere from HKD 180 to HKD 3,000 per bottle. What better to go with alcohol than fried / grilled food?

Magushi
G/F., 74 Peel Street,
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2868 1428
Email: info@magushi.com