This was one of the ramen shops which was still open during public holidays. It also had no break after lunchtime so it's a lot more flexible for customers. My wife and I thus decided to try it out.
The location was easy to find. It's basically located inside APM Mall at Kwun Tong and you could just get they by MTR. It's hard to miss the "Great Drum" and the cool poster showing two dueling samurai.
吉崗 vs 武藏？（持雙劍：二天一流！）
We arrived at 2:15 p.m. and waited for about 6-7 minutes before we got a counter seat. The restaurant adopted a cool, metallic, modern design which I find more appropriate for a bar instead of a ramen shop. I always prefer a warmer and cozier atmosphere but some will like it. I was very tempted to order a beer but finally controlled my urges.
It was quite spacious and seemed bigger than most ramen shops I've been to. It's even a bit bigger than Hokadate. We sat at the counter next to the ramen kitchen but the temperature was fine because of the strong air-conditioning. The stoves were at the far end of the kitchen anyway. The seats were quite comfortable but were affixed to the floor so you can't adjust distance between your seat and the table, which might be a problem for some.
They served five basic types of ramen:
"White Samurai Bone" - Original pork bone,
"Red Samurai Bone" - Pork bone with special chilli oil,
"Black Samurai Bone" - Pork bone with spring onion and garlic oil,
"Tsuke noodle" - Noodle served without broth and a separate bowl of sauce (you could choose Red, White or Black) for dipping; and
"Curry noodle" - well, what else do you want? It's curry noodle.
and a special feature:
"KamiYama" - literally "Magic Mountain" tsuke noodle: which was tsuke noodles with an extra strong pork bone broth sauce and limited to 50 bowls per evening. They only serve it after 6:00 p.m.
There is also a very interesting promotion available for the Magic Mountain Tsuke Ramen. You could choose up to 5 times the normal portion for the same price!
The menu also had fried chicken, gyoza, tempura, grilled fish, as well as some alcoholic drinks, amongst others.
You could choose to have char siu, sliced pork or kakuni with your ramen. My wife ordered a "White Samurai Bone" with sliced pork and I ordered a "Red Samurai Bone" with Braised Pork (Kakuni). We also ordered a tempura.
Both noodles came after a short wait:
First the White Samurai, the broth was quite interesting. It had a lot of bonito essence inside the pork broth. My wife commented that it tasted pretty nostalgic, just like some ramens she had in Tokyo. Indeed, Musashi came from Tokyo and I understand that they previously won a number of awards there. This combination of pork bone and bonito essence seemed quite unique in Hong Kong.
The closest comparison I could give might be the broth in "Hachiyo", which had more bonito taste than here, and the sauce of the tsukemen of "Hide-chan" - which had a lot more of everything, plus garlic, and was the strongest and oiliest of these three.
The pork slices in the noodle had a good balance between lean meat and fat. It was soft and tender. Similar to the good quality black pork slices from Kagoshima you have with shyabu shyabu.
Now, about the Red Samurai. The Red ramen was also pork bone based as well and also had a strong bonito taste. The main difference in my Red ramen was the additional secret chilli oil, a lot of spring onions, plus some spinach. To be honest with you, I couldn't really tell the difference between this secret chilli oil and the normal Japanese chilli oil. It's certainly a mystery and a secret kept from me
The main difference between the Red Samurai and the White Samurai was the chilli oil, more soy sauce, and more garlic in the broth. The overall effect was OK.
The egg which came with ramen was quite nice. It was half boiled and the yoke was nice and soft. However, I've recently discovered that the egg at "Hachiyo" was even better and could possibly be one of the top amongst all the ramen shops I've tried. The egg at the less famous "Yuketei" was actually quite good and even better than "Ippudo" - (however, the noodle there was not my cup of tea).
The kakuni was very nice though. It was extremely tender, like the "Tung Por Yuk" (東坡肉）in Chinese cuisine.
On the other hand, I was not used to the noodle. The noodle was quite thick. I could not identify whether it was a Kyushu style ramen or Sapporo ramen. I'd say it's really similar to the "Yau Mien 油麵" you have in the "Che Jai Mien車仔麵" stalls. I'd prefer they use a different type of noodle.
Readers who enjoyed Tsuke noodle might be more used to this thicker type of noodle. In this regard, I've learnt from other food reviewers that there is yet another new contender: 周月, who specializes in tsuke noodle.That will be on my "hit" list too.
The tempura was quite interesting. According to the menu, which was in Japanese, Chinese, English and had lots of photos, those were wrapped with plum soba before dipping in the batter. The shrimp was not bad and the taste was quite strong. It really had some plum taste. However, I wouldn't go out of my way to order this.
The service was quite good. No complaints. But since it's a rather big shop, it's a bit harder to catch their attention. Still, the waitress tried hard to add tea as frequent as possible. * Actually, this is very different from Japan. Japanese customers actually dislike the frequent adding of tea and regarded it as an interruption!
The price was similar to most ramen shops in Hong Kong (other than MIST). Cool decor. Comfortable seats.
Other than the thick noodle type which I think is an acquired taste, the broth was interesting.
The egg and the pork, both the thin slices and the kakuni, were nice.
Although my wife stated that she wouldn't mind bringing her Japanese friends here for a try, I think it was just OK because of the noodle.
All in all, I won't go all the way here for the ramen. But might be worth a try if you're around the area.
P.S.: Musashi is the author of the famous Japanese strategy book "Book of the five rings". He is also famous for developing a style of swordplay with the use of two swords. The Yin sword and the Yang sword. Perhaps the mixing of the broths is an inspiration for this ramen shop's name?
Table Wait Time: 6 minute(s)
Date of Visit: Apr 08, 2012
Spending per head: Approximately HKD72(Tea)Other Ratings:
Value for Money 3