2015-11-08 2402 瀏覽
Ah...cooler weather brings me to one of my favorite comfort foods. Ramen. And luckily, new ramen shops always open up in Hong Kong for me to try along with my old favorites for me to revisit. I discovered a new ramen shop that was in the Causeway Bay area in a section I often walk by on my way to the wet market for groceries. The name? Tetsu. For foodie or ramen fans, the name will bring a lot of interest to the ever growing Hong Kong ramen scene. And one of those insane ramen fans is me. Becaus
Tetsu is from yes... the land of ramen. Tokyo, Japan. Originally near Shinagawa station, they now have expanded to other areas of Tokyo and well..beyond. They are so popular, they have lines that can last for at least an hour. And what type of ramen do they serve? Tsukemen. Yes, the ramen where you dip away in a bowl of hot soup. However, when you eat tsukemen, there is one problem that is encountered. The soup goes cold after a while. What are you to do? Tetsu has solved this problem by popping you a hot stone into your soup to reheat it. Problem solved.
The Hong Kong branch of Tetsu is located next to the Canal Road flyover where there is heavy foot traffic from people waiting to get on crossharbour buses. Fitting as it's located near a traffic bridge. However, when entering Tetsu Hong Kong, one glaring difference is noted. There is no vending machine to buy a ticket to order your ramen like they do in Japan. No. You sit down like at a regular ramen place, check off the menu items and pay later at the cashier.
The check off menu is similar to all the other ramen shops in Hong Kong. It's in Chinese only. You choose what yiou want, how intense your soup and any extras. They have two sizes for your ramen for the same price: 200 g and 300 g. I chose 200 g and it was more than enough for a girl like me. However, English readers ... don't be dismayed. They have a picture menu at each seat with photos, English and Chinese! They have two types of tsukemen. One is the regular type and the other is called atsumori. That is the nontradtional version where they will keep the ramen in a hot soup. For tradtionalists ... don't choose atsumori. Another thing that is different than the Japanese branch is they serve tonkatsu and sendagi ramen. The Japanese branch only serves tsukemen and that is it. No other ramen is served. I believe they may have added more items to please the Hong Kong market who are always demanding more variety in their menu. They have a cute cartoon on how to eat tsukemen. You dip a few strands of ramen into your soup and eat away. When the soup gets cold, request a stone where your soup will bubble away while you ooh and ahh. After you are done your ramen, you request a hot dashi soup to dilute your dipping ramen and drink it up. Condiments were simple and very typical in many other places. Cold ice water is available in a pitcher on each table. Of course, being in a tsukemen specialist, I only order one thing and one thing only. I chose 200 g version, normal soup strength and normal chewiness of the noodle. Price: $89. I was informed that it may take 10 minute wait time.
Soup was thick and very rich in chicken and fish stock. It's also very salty and perfect for dipping. The noodles were thick and chewy. There was no starchy after taste. Product of a good rinsing by the ramen chef. I read somewhere they use a noodle that is a blend of buckwheat and udon flour. I don't know if that makes for a better ramen noodle but this was pretty good all around. The ramen does include bamboo shoots and char siu but it does not include an egg. Egg is an extra $9. However, I wanted an extra round of char siu so this was an extra $29 for a set that includes extra char siu, bamboo shoots and egg. The char siu was interesting. It was sliced in thick strips and not slices like other places. It was tender and had a very sweet taste of Chinese five spices. The egg was perfection. The yolk flowed beautifully like lava. The egg was slightly marinated but not too much. After a while, my soup got a bit cold and I asked for a hot stone. The staff will bring a hot stone to your table and ask you to place your metal spoon on a small dish. They will lay the stone on to your spoon and tell you to slowly put it into your soup. Wait for it to bubble and then cover it up with your spoon.
Of course, I played the "OMG....I'm a scared girl that doesn't want to get hurt omg can you help me" card so the waiter helped me do this so I could take photos.
The stones came in this hot pot. The waiter told me that the 102 meant not the temperature of the stones but that location of the first shop. The stone is placed on my spoon. Then the stone is placed gently into my soup. Bubbles erupted and a sizzling sound began. It felt like those cast iron steak places. After the bubbling subsides, the spoon is placed on top to cover up the bubbles so you don't hurt yourself. When all the bubbles are finished bubbling, you stir your soup and around and presto! Hot soup again! If you want, you can leave your rock in there or take it out. Fun little photo moment. I added hot dashi soup after I was finished my noodles to dilute it to drink up the rest of my soup. The soup was very rich even after I diluted it. But not salty after dilution.
Excellent ramen with a nice gimmick stone that does reheat the soup for a bit. You can request a paper bib if you don't want to dirty your clothes while eating. And for their first week of opening, they are offering free VIP membership to the first 102 customers. It wasn't busy when I went on opening day and it was 3 PM. I was only number 92. So, now I am a VIP member. I asked what that meant and they said sometimes they will have special ramen for VIPs to choose from and other fun things. AWESOME! Will return again and will try something called a water gyzoa. I was by myself so one bowl of noodles was enough for me. Perhaps next time I come with boyfriend, we'll order that. I had a coworker who went the next day and said they were steamed and not pan fried and excellent. Curious I will return for that.