Sherman's Food Adventures: Hida Takayama Ramen

Hida Takayama Ramen

As if we need another ramen joint out on Robson, I got a warning from Bear that this was indeed the case. Warning? An ominous sign... Hidden inside Robson Market is the newest entry into "Ramen Central". Unlike the existing establishments, Hida Takayama Ramen is not an actual storefront. It resides in the dead fair... er... I mean food fair. Originally, I was going to quickly pay the place a visit since I was going to be in Downtown already. However, Kim was planning to visit the place in a few days and by coincidence, I had a conference in Downtown at the same time. Seems like we could try it out together. Why not? More variety. Who wouldn't like that?

So during my lunch break, I made my way down to lower Robson. I spotted Kim and he looked like a total mess. Well, I guess messier than usual. Looks like the flu has hit him hard. Nothing like a big bowl of hot ramen to improve the situation! We ended up with 2 bowls of ramen and a couple of other items. Starting with the Natural Salt Ramen, the first thing that we noticed was the light broth and plethora of pork. One sip of the broth and I was immediately overwhelmed by salt. Sure, it's Shio and naturally it should taste salty. But really, that is all that I could taste. No meat flavour, no richness or other discernible taste. In fact, the noodles themselves were salty as well. As much as it is a possibility that the salty broth had penetrated the noodles, it didn't seem plausible in the short amount of time before we dug in. It was as if they cooked the noodles in heavy saltwater. In terms of the texture, it wasn't bad. It was a bit chewy, not overly so; but at the very least it wasn't soft. As mentioned, there was plenty of pork. It appears that they used the pork chop minus the bone. Very meaty. Possibly a bit too lean; hence it was somewhat of a chew in spots. As for the Miso Ramen, it was much of the same. In fact, with a generous amount of miso, it was quite overwhelming to the point that it was too strong. Curiously, there was an absence of additional ingredients such as corn, ajitama egg and so on.

We ended up with an order of Gyoza as well and it really was hit and miss. The dumpling wrapper was thin and easy to eat; however, the filling itself was too loose and bland. The last item was the Pork Bun. From the outside, it looked very much like a Chinese bun and in some ways it was. When I tried to remove the paper from the bun, it ripped off the entire bottom, revealing a soggy mess. The filling was much too wet, resulting in a unappealing texture. Man, this is a tough one. I can see that this is a family-run operation and they are honest people. However, the food is just not up to par, especially with so many great ramen shops within walking distance. It is unfortunate that Hida Takayama is smack dab in the middle of Kintaro, Benkei, Santouka, Motomochi and Sanpachi. There is a lot to live up to. In this case it didn't and unless some changes are made, I'm not sure how they can compete.

The Good:
- There is a generous amount of pork
- It's quick since you don't have to lineup for a seat
- They're really friendly

The Bad:
- Broth is one-dimensional
- Noodles are salty?
- It is not really cheaper than its competitors

Hida Takayama Ramen on Urbanspoon


KimHo said...

Thanks for tagging along, despite I looked wasted! Overall, yes, too many "better" options nearby to come here. Question... Kawawa (Ramen) or here? :)

Sherman Chan said...

Believe it or not... I'd do Kawawa Ramen over here...

Anonymous said...

I been going to Hida Ramen since their opening and I believe their Ramen has improved quite a lot from what is was back in February and March. Looks like they have finally perfected their collagen filled broth and it's a great tasting soup considering they don't use any MSG. I heard from they take 3 days to make the soup. You can drink the whole bowl of soup and not end up being thirsty all night. The noodles have good texture and taste. You can now order Pork Belly Chashu (if you want fatty chashu) or the Pork Loin Chashu (if you want a lean chashu). For people that are hungry, Hida Ramen offers the "Hungry Meal" which you get 33% more noodle and soup for the same price and for people who don't want the extra noodle and soup can ask for the "Regular Size". I saw that they are now offering the White Sesame Ramen and the Tomato Noodle Ramen. I'll try them out on my next visit.

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